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Lake Lillian, Minn., man pleads to damage charge

WILLMAR -- Kurt Morrice Litzau, 21, of Lake Lillian, pleaded guilty Tuesday to a misdemeanor charge of property damage for damaging county road signs and mailboxes last summer in rural Atwater.

As part of a plea agreement reached in Kandiyohi County District Court, Litzau also pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges for driving an uninsured vehicle and not having vehicle registration.

According to County Attorney Jenna Fischer, Litzau will pay restitution on all counts. The estimated cost to repair the county signs was more than $1,100.

Litzau will be sentenced Tuesday. The charges were filed in January after an investigation by the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office. The case began when a sheriff's deputy was called around 8 a.m. Aug. 7, 2011, to a rural Atwater address. A citizen reported that someone had run over a road sign and damaged corn in a field. The caller said the vandal lost his license plate in the process.

The plate, discovered at the intersection of 75th Avenue and 164th Street Southeast, was from a 1993 Oldsmobile registered to Litzau.

The investigation revealed that stop signs, yield signs and other traffic signs were damaged in Gennesee and Lake Elizabeth townships.

The corn was damaged in Section 4 of Lake Elizabeth Township. Several mailboxes and posts were also damaged.

Tire tracks in the area matched those of a mud-covered car located at Litzau's previous rural Atwater residence. The car had no doors, roof or glass and the rear bumper had been replaced by a metal beam.

A relative of Litzau told deputies the car belonged to Litzau. The license tabs had expired in October 2010.

A person who said he was with Litzau during the evening in question said Litzau drove the car in and out of ditches at speeds of 70 mph, through two cornfields and over a yield sign.

Repair costs were estimated at $1,162.44, and included five stop signs, one left curve sign, eight delineators, 10 hours of labor and 10 hours of equipment use. The estimate was $1,277.44 once the damaged mailboxes were factored into the estimate.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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