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Bemidji man pleads not guilty in vandalism of mailboxes in area

A Bemidji man has pleaded not guilty to taking part in damaging approximately 46 mailboxes in and near Bemidji along 15th Street Northwest, Becida Road Southwest and Power Dam Road Northeast.

Kirk Harrison Janiksela, 21, of Bemidji, pleaded not guilty Jan. 30 to gross misdemeanor third-degree damage to property. His next court appearance is set for today.

Between March 26 and May 22, 2010, the Bemidji Police Department and the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office received complaints of approximately 46 mailboxes being damaged during the night.

According to court documents:

Police officers received statements from two juveniles who confessed that Janiksela and another person had assisted them in vandalizing mailboxes along Becida Road Southwest.

The two juveniles said each person took turns destroying mailboxes on Becida Road Southwest and 15th Street Northwest and all were "equally culpable and responsible" for damaging approximately 20-30 mailboxes.

Janiksela admitted being in the vehicle when the vandalism took place, but claimed he only threw a couple of rocks out of the window.

In July 2010, police were informed that Janiksela and four others had damaged between 15 and 20 mailboxes along Power Dam Road Northeast. After further investigation and statements taken from the individuals, police officers determined the five individuals had vandalized mailboxes along the Power Dam Road Northeast in late May 2010.

The total cost of damage to all of the affected mailboxes is $1,840, court documents state.