Snellville Police Department has made its first arrest in a cyber stalking case, according to Police Chief Roy Whitehead.
Police arrested Alexander Prescott Brown, a 25-year-old Tennessee man, in connection with the stalking of a 19-year-old Snellville woman. The woman, who attends Georgia Gwinnett College, met the man in an Internet chat room a year ago, Snellville Police said.
After an investigation that included Georgia Gwinnett College campus police, Brown was arrested and charged on Tuesday with making terroristic threats/acts, peeping tom, stalking and criminal trespass. Two of the charges are felonies, and two are misdemeanors.
Brown is currently being detained at the Gwinnett County Detention Center without bond in the felonies, and a total bond amount of $13,600 for the misdemeanors.
Whitehead said the man traveled to the area three times before being captured Tuesday.
"We do consider this to be a sex crime, albeit one prevented," the chief said in an email. "We believe that this would have been serious had he not been caught."
During the course of the year, police suspect that the man began to make the victim feel comfortable, but that at some point, she told him she wanted no further contact with him.
Police believe that Brown then "made threats to others in the chat room that he intended to kill the girl’s family and rape her," police said in a statement posted to department's official Facebook page.
"He admitted to going on the property and watching the victim through her bedroom window," Whitehead said in an email.
During one of the apparent visits, police said Brown left a stuffed animal under the victim's car, and then told others in the chat room that he was stalking the young woman.
Police said the suspect is an engineer, graduate of Vanderbilt University and works at a nuclear power plant. Officials believe that he tracked the victim's ISP address (Internet Service Provider) to Snellville to find out where she lived.
Using information that the victim gave him in the chat room, police believe the suspect was then able to find her Facebook page, and learned that she was Catholic. From there, police believe Brown perused local church websites and located another Facebook page for the church.
Police said the church had a directory listing members and photographs, including information on the victim's family. Eventually, police say Brown located a Facebook page with photos of the family's home, where he learned the layout.
Although not mentioned by police, the address of homes and owners is also listed on many government property databases, which are available from the Internet.
In a message to the public, Snellville Police Department is urging everyone to take extra precautions when using the Internet.
"Please check your family pages as well as those of your children," the police department said in statement. "Do everything possible to monitor yours and your children’s contacts as this could have had tragic consequences."