Whats a creeper.
'Sick old man' has made this photographer's life a living hell, following her everywhere
A freelance photographer who works for the Daily News says a Brooklyn neighbor has stalked her for more than three years. She has repeatedly gone to police and prosecutors, but because the man never approaches her she is told nothing can be done. This is her story.
In New York, you take it for granted that you are going about your business and everyone else is, too. No one has time for you and you don’t have time for them.
That changed one day in 2006 when I noticed the same old man kept turning up near me.
He was on my train. On my bus. He looked at me in an odd way and would try to get a seat across from me. It happened workdays - and weekends.
Initially, I thought it was just a strange coincidence, but my instincts eventually told me something was not right.
I mentioned it to a few people, but they just laughed it off. Maybe he was just lonely, they said.
For weeks, I ignored him, thinking I must be paranoid.
But when he showed up at the new Whole Foods in the East Village while I was shopping, I felt sick. I changed my hours, my route. And he still kept appearing.
After about a year of nearly daily sightings, I couldn’t bear it. I approached two police officers at a subway station, pointed out my tormentor and explained my situation.
They asked him if he was following me. He said he had no idea what I was talking about.
I filed my first official police report in August 2007. He was undeterred. If anything, it made him bolder.
He showed up during Fashion Week at Bryant Park, where I was working. A friend confronted him and he denied even knowing me.
"You should leave me alone," I told him.
The next day, I went back to Bryant Park for an assignment. I was running late and saw him, pacing, looking around and pounding his fists in the air.
I realized he was very disturbed, and filed another police report.
The police said they would put a detective on the case, but the detective seemed unconcerned because of the stalker’s advanced age.
He told me he could arrest him, but he would just be freed. My chances of getting an order of protection were not good since he hadn’t physically harmed me and lived nearby.
"Keep your head up," the detective told me.
It was impossible. One of the worst moments came on a freezing cold winter’s night.
My assignment kept me out past midnight and when I got off the train, the stalker was standing there at the station doors.
I knew he would never leave me alone.
Again, I tried to get the police to intervene. I went to my local precinct. They called prosecutors, who said it was a deadend. Case closed.
I called prosecutors directly and they told me an order of protection wouldn’t really help.
I spoke to the director of the Brooklyn district attorney’s victims services unit, who told me their hands were tied because I couldn’t prove it was more than a coincidence.
I found myself caught in a vicious cycle. The stalker would show up, I would file a report, and nothing would happen until he appeared again.
On one train ride, I walked over to him and yelled at him, telling him to stop following me.
Stop following me!
Last summer, I spotted him at Whole Foods in Chelsea, where I had recently started shopping.
"Stop following me," I hollered at him.
He turned around and yelled back: “I don’t know who you are. I am a sick man. Leave me alone lady.”
Yes, he’s sick. And I’m sick of it.
After dozens upon dozens of encounters with this guy all around the city, I refuse to accept there is nothing that can be done.
I want the law - or how it is enforced - changed so I can leave the house without looking over my shoulder. I want my life back.