Christopher Bjerkness, Duluth's rubber ball slasher, gets off light

Duluth's exercise balls are on alert after serial ball-slasher Christopher Bjerkness was given a stayed prison sentence.

One of the most bizarre stories to come out of Duluth, Bjerkness has a history of breaking into buildings housing rubber exercise balls and slashing them with a knife to fulfill a sexual urge.

Bjerkness, 34, was in court this week following his latest episode last May. In that incident, police said staff at Duluth's Chester Creek Academy caught him in the school's gym with the balls -- before he could do any damage.

Bjerkness pled guilty to third-degree burglary for breaking into the school's fitness center. He was sentenced on Wednesday to 23 months in prison, but his time in the slammer is stayed for four years of supervised probation. During that time Bjerkness will receive treatment while living in a group home for people with traumatic brain injuries. In 2005, Bjerkness was convicted of breaking into the University of Minnesota-Duluth's sports complex several times to damage 40 exercise balls. In 2006, he slashed the balls at the Polinsky Medical Rehabilitation Center. Then he broke into SMDC-Duluth Clinic West building in 2009 and slashed the rubber balls there.

In the summer of 2010, he bolted a halfway house where he was staying to fulfill a probation deal, but cops caught up with him before he put more rubber balls in jeopardy.

Bjerkness says he can't explain his fetish. He claims he suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome, bipolar depression, and cerebral palsy. That information has been confirmed by his adoptive parents.

St. Louis prosecutor Leslie Beiers told the Duluth News Tribune that the state hopes Bjerkness can buck past history and stay away from tantalizing round rubber orbs this time around.

"If he's not able to comply with treatment and make some progress, the state at some point will be in the position of having to ask that he go to prison. And we hope that we don't have to do that," she said.

Previous coverage:

Christopher Bjerkness, Duluth's rubber ball slasher, breaks into another gym
Ball slasher Christopher Neil Bjerkness violates probation, good taste
Duluth's rubber ball fetish burglar at it again
Rubber ball slasher sentenced to year in prison
Man with exercise ball fetish says he is only a threat to rubber orbs

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