SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) - A 63-year-old man has been charged with using a GPS device to stalk his ex-girlfriend.
Clarence Piercey was arraigned Monday with aggravated stalking (a five-year felony) and illegally installing a tracking device on a motor vehicle (a misdemeanor). Piercey posted a $2,500 bond.
The Van Buren County Sheriff's Department began investigating Sunday night when a woman called to report a man who she dated briefly in the past was stalking her.
The woman said her relationship with Piercey began in August 2011 and the suspect's stalking behavior increased after they broke up in December.
The woman said Piercey occasionally lived in Indianapolis and moved to South Haven in May, when she started seeing him around town.
"She had separated from him and she had a feeling he had been following her around," said Lt. Robert Kirk of the Van Buren County Sheriff's Department. "He'd been showing up at different locations just out of the blue, which kind of alarmed her a little bit."
She filed a personal protection order (PPO) on Monday, police told 24 Hour News 8, stating she and Piercey have run into each other at least 10 times since the beginning of this month. Piercey has been sending unwanted text messages, and that she is scared of possible death, according to the PPO.
She told police she has also noticed Piercey's truck parked next to her vehicle on numerous days this month.
A deputy went to Piercey's house in South Haven to interview him about this behavior. When Piercey wouldn't answer the front door, the deputy proceeded to the rear door and saw a laptop computer in the residence.
"They were able to see the screen of the laptop. The deputies recognized it was a GPS program," said Kirk. "They discovered it was a GPS tracking unit and it was tracking her vehicle."
A search warrant was executed on Piercey's home and Piercey was found hiding in the laundry room. He was taken into custody.
Deputies located and seized computer equipment and other items linked to the GPS tracking device.
After executing the warrant, deputies searched the victim's car and found the tracking device installed on the undercarriage.
It was determined Piercey had been tracking the victim's location for more than a month using the GPS tracker, police said.
"He's an ex-boyfriend. She doesn't have any ties to him," said Lt. Kirk. "She doesn't want any contact with him, and he's got something on her vehicle that she's unaware of, and he's following her around, and tracking her every move. It's stalking."
The sheriff's department said the GPS technology is similar to what is in a cellphone, but stronger.
24 Hour News 8 reached Piercey by phone Tuesday afternoon and asked if he wanted to talk about the allegations. He declined. He is due in court next month.
Lt. Kirk said the victim's vigilance helped lead to the arrest.
"You really need to be aware of your surroundings. I think she was aware of her surroundings and kept noticing he was showing up in places where he wouldn't normally show up," said Kirk. "So by her being aware of her surroundings and different areas she was able to recognize this was a problem there."
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