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Reedsburg man arrested for threatening police over deer management plan

September 22, 2018

A Reedsburg man who considered himself a naturalist is accused of threatening police over the city’s recent approval of its urban deer management plan.

Mark. D Benseman, 53, is charged with one Class 1 felony count of making terrorist threats. If convicted he faces a fine of $10,000 and three and a half year in prison. He faces additional jail time as a repeat offender due to a prior conviction of attempted battery of law enforcement from May 31. A court date is scheduled for Oct. 19.

According to the criminal complaint:

According to a criminal complaint, officers responded to the Reedsburg Police Department Dispatch Center at 2:59 p.m. Sept. 16 on the report of a suspicious phone call. Officers stated they played back a recording of the phone call and heard a male voice making a threat against its officers.

“Yeah, if I find out your cops are shooting the deer in town they’re gonna be eradicated too, all right, one by one. Bye,’” Benseman told a dispatcher before he hung up the phone, according to a criminal complaint. The complaint states Benseman did not state his name before he hung up the phone.

Officers attempted to call him back, receiving voicemail messages before he answered the phone. When officers questioned him Benseman answered, “I heard you are going to be shooting deer.”

When asked by officers to provide his name and date of birth, Benseman gave a false name and continued to threaten the officers until he hung up the phone.

Reedsburg’s urban deer management plan includes using two staff members of the Reedsburg Police Department to shoot deer over bait sitting in elevated stands at night to remove about 15 deer in specific areas where there is a high concentration of urban deer. The plan is set to take effect in January 2019 and was unanimously approved by the Reedsburg Common Council at its Aug. 27 meeting. According to the complaint, he became informed of the plan when he read about it in a local newspaper.

Detectives tracked Benseman down by phone Sept. 18 and told police he been drinking, saying it most likely caused his actions. He admitted to making the phone call however when told by police about the threats Benseman, who said he owns guns, said he “would never do that and that would be foolish” and was “just talking stupid,” the complaint states.

A signature bond of $2,500 was set Sept. 20 and Benseman must follow the conditions of absolute sobriety from alcohol and not possess any firearms at all times. He is scheduled to appear in court Oct. 19.

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