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'Gotta getaway' doesn't mean trying what police say a Waupaca man did at Appleton International Airport

Benjamin Soderberg
Posted at 5:27 PM, Nov 13, 2023
  • Felony Bail Jumping is a crime that involves breaking the conditions of your bond. But Benjamin Soderberg's method for Felony Bail Jumping stands out against the rest. He appeared in court Monday morning.
  • In 2017, Soderberg allegedly rammed the fence at Appleton International Airport with a black Subaru Forester to get onto the taxiway, drove around the perimeter, and then rammed another part of the fence to escape onto Endeavour Drive.
  • Soderberg's next court date is in December.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

On Monday morning, Benjamin Soderberg appeared in Outagamie County Court for a felony bail jumping pretrial conference. But in 2017, Soderberg took a unique getaway path.

According to a criminal complaint, at about 10:15 p.m. in Sepetember of 2017, an Outagamie County deputy found part of the Appleton Airport's fence damaged. According to the criminal complaint, there were "two exterior mirrors and a large piece of plastic from a vehicle" by the fence, and fresh tracks in the grassy area beyond it that led onto the taxiway.

The complaint states that a Grand Chute police officer found a suspicious black Subaru Forester parked at a business that was missing both exterior mirrors and the driver's side front inner fender. The vehicle was owned by Soderberg's mother.

Soderberg is from Waupaca.

Airport Public Safety employees told police the SUV had driven the inside perimeter of the fence. The deputy found another spot in the fence that was loose at the bottom, with a broken lower support cable and a black piece of metal from a windshield wiper nearby.

Airport Public Safety Officer Jonathan Schaffler determined the SUV rammed the fence, driving 2,000 feet through a bean field next to it, and then left through Endeavour Drive. The SUV also hit two runway lights, racking up about $825 in damages.

Air Service and Business Development Manager Jesse Funk says Soderberg's escapade is definitely unusual, but the public should not have any safety concerns because of it.

“All kinds of security measures in place, obviously this was a rare incident, but you know, a lot of security features we can’t show you, but the ones you can see are the barbed wire fences, the gates, things like that. We have our public safety that patrols the airfield 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and then we also have numerous security cameras here at the airport.”

Soderberg's next date in court is scheduled for December.