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Mon, June 17

Violent crimes against women unit arrests man on stalking charges

Prescott Valley police arrested a man earlier this month on felony charges of stalking after he created a link with nude photos of a woman and derogatory comments about her, sent it to the woman, and threatened to post it on her Facebook page.

An officer booked Brian Christopher Wiesner, 23, of Prescott into the Yavapai County Jail in Camp Verde on felony charges of stalking, two counts of computer tampering, theft by extortion, and misdemeanor use of telephone to terrify or harass.

On Jan. 4, Prescott Valley police answered a harassment call from a Prescott Valley woman who told them her ex-boyfriend sent her threatening text messages. The investigation found that Wiesner possibly hacked into the victim's Facebook account, then locked the woman out of her account by changing the password, said Sgt. Brandon Bonney, spokesman for the Prescott Valley Police Department.

Wiesner threatened to post a link on the Facebook page containing nude photos and videos he compiled of the woman including derogatory comments about her, Bonney said. Wiesner also demanded money from the woman that he believed she stole from him during their relationship.

When investigators contacted Wiesner, he allegedly made incriminating statements about his involvement, and said he followed the woman as well as her new boyfriend on Facebook.

Stalking, a crime that affects 3.4 million victims a year, is not a single easily identifiable crime but a series of acts, a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause that person fear, Bonney said. Stalking takes many forms, including assaults, threats, vandalism, burglary, or animal abuse, as well as unwanted cards, calls, gifts, or visits and leaves victims fearful for their safety.

Although the crime can be difficult to investigate and prosecute, victims can help law enforcement by documenting actions when they happen and involve law enforcement early on to ensure a safer outcome, Bonney said. One in four victims has reported that a stalker has used technology such as computers, global positioning system devices, or hidden cameras to track them.

People can further protect themselves by protecting personal passwords and using caution about what they post on the Internet. Posting where you will be for dinner and when you'll be out of town on Facebook and other social networking websites provides information for anyone to track and find you, Bonney advised.

If you know someone who may be a victim of stalking, call your local police department. For more help, contact the Prescott Valley Police Violent Crimes Against Women Unit at (928) 772-5110, the Yavapai Family Advocacy Center at (928) 775-0669, The National Center for Victims of Crime at 1 (800) FYI-CALL, and learn more at The Stalking Resource Center's web site www.ncvc.org/src.

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