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Odd arm of the law casts wide dragnet

By Sean Ryan

Ladies and gentlemen: The story you are about to hear is true, only the names haven’t been changed … because people who bury 162 televisions in the ground are not innocent.

The latest oddball file from the Wisconsin Department of Justice involves Bradley Sutton, a Chetek resident and owner of Kleen Air Disposal. Between 2007 and 2009, Sutton allegedly buried 162 television sets around the foundation of a building he owns in Rice Lake, according to the lawsuit.

Sutton settled the case in a court for the county of Barron on April 20 and was ordered to pay the state $12,000.

The Sutton case stands out from the ongoing flow of erosion-control, air-pollution and wastewater discharge case settlements the DOJ is constantly publicizing through press releases.

But, probably the most heinous thing I’ve seen is the strange case of Gillet Resident Randy Soper. After receiving complaints that Soper was illegally dumping sewage from a septic pumping company, a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources agent investigated his property in Pulcifer on a snowy February day in 2007.

The agent, after noticing a foul smell, saw a 200-foot-long, seven-foot-wide stain in the snow along the side of a road, according to the state lawsuit. Samples analyzed by the State Laboratory of Hygiene revealed that the substance was sewage, and agents surmised somebody had opened the valve of a sewage truck tank and hit the gas.

You can read just the facts of how Soper was brought to justice here.

Soper in February was convicted of three counts of illegally disposing of sewage and willfully discharging a pollutant into state waterways.

He was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

Sean Ryan, staff writer for The Daily Reporter, watched too much Dragnet as a kid.

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