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Duluth 'ball slasher' arrested again

Before Sunday's arrest, Christopher Neil Bjerkness was convicted after similar incidents with exercise balls in 2005 and 2009.

The Duluth man known for having a sexual fetish of slashing exercise balls with a knife allegedly attempted to strike again on Sunday.

This time, Christopher Neil Bjerkness, 33, was arrested at Chester Creek Academy, a Duluth school at 714 W. College St., according to Jim Hanson, Duluth police information officer. The school is for children in treatment through Northwood Children's Services.

Bjerkness reportedly gained entry through a window about 1:30 p.m. Sunday into a room used for physical and occupational therapy. As he entered, an alarm was triggered and staff located him in the room shortly thereafter. Bjerkness was compliant and waited with staff members until police arrived, according to Richard Wolleat, president and CEO of Northwood Children's Services.

Inflatable exercise balls were in the room but none were damaged, Hanson said. There was no other damage except to the lock and window used by Bjerkness.

He had no connection to the school and had not been there before, Wolleat said.

In 2009, Bjerkness was convicted of third-degree burglary after he admitted breaking into the SMDC-Duluth Clinic West building and slashing balls there.

He was also convicted of first-degree criminal damage to property in 2005 after getting into the Sports and Health Center at the University of Minnesota Duluth on several occasions and damaging exercise balls. He also admitted at the time to slicing into exercise balls at the SMDC Center for Personal Fitness, the Polinsky Medical Rehabilitation Center and St. Luke's hospital, according to criminal complaints.

Bjerkness is being held pending charges at the St. Louis County Jail.