A California man was arrested on Monday after police said he stalked a woman online for 12 years after she asked him to cover his mouth while coughing during a high school class.
Matthew Cringle, a 29-year-old from Los Altos, is alleged to have created a number of fake Facebook accounts over the years which he then used to send sexually explicit and threatening messages to the woman.
Cringle, who had already once been convicted of stalking the same woman years ago, was arrested without incident on Monday.
He is being held without bail in Santa Clara County jail.
‘This is the first holiday season in over a decade where the victim can relax and not worry about looking over her shoulder,’ Mountain View police Sgt. Tim Dahl told Mountain View Voice.
‘She shouldn’t have to live in fear.’
Police said Cringle took advantage of Facebook, which in years past allowed users greater anonymity and made it harder for police to track down fake accounts.
‘There was a lot of messages that were coming from many different “people,” but they were all very similar,’ Mountain View Police Department spokesperson Katie Nelson said.
‘This poor woman was receiving it repeatedly over the course of about 12 years.’
The victim told police she believes Cringle began to nurse a grudge against her after she asked him to cover his mouth while coughing during a high school class they took together.
Cringle had already been convicted of stalking the same woman years ago.
Now authorities are trying to understand how he was able to continue the alleged behavior after his conviction.
Cringle faces charges of felony stalking, stalking under a prohibited restraining order, stalking following a prior felony conviction, and making criminal threats.
Police are also investigating if there are other potential stalking victims.
Cringle worked for a ride-sharing company, which gave him access to people’s names and data.
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