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Man sentenced for stalking woman at Bemidji Wal-Mart

BEMIDJI – A Cambridge, Minn., was sentenced this week for stalking a Bemidji woman.

Joshua Joseph Brunner, 28, was sentenced for gross misdemeanor stalking. He was given a stay of imposition, meaning that if he successfully completes two years’ of supervised probation, he will be convicted of a misdemeanor charge.

Brunner entered an Alford plea Aug. 7 to the charge. An Alford plea has the legal effect of a guilty plea. Brunner did not admit guilt, but conceded that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict him.

Brunner was sentenced by Beltrami County District Judge Paul Benshoof.

As part of the sentenced, he was ordered to serve two days in Beltrami County Jail but was also given credit for two days served. He must pay $150 in fees and complete 50 hours of community work service in lieu of a fine.

According to state statute, a person can be found guilty for stalking if he or she follows, monitors or pursues another, whether in person or through any available technological or other means.  

According to the criminal complaint, a Bemidji woman reported in October 2011 that a man, later identified as Brunner, had approached her more than once in Walmart, asking if she was single and if he could have her phone number. In subsequent visits, he appeared to follow her around the store, she said.

After reporting the activity to police, the woman was advised to contact law enforcement if she saw him again. She called police March 14 while at Walmart, reporting that the same man again was following her around, according to the complaint.