San Antonio police found it hidden inside the engine compartment of a Texas woman’s car, attached with a magnet. It was a GPS tracking device, which the woman suspected her stalker had secretly attached so he could follow her movements.
The stalking victim had called police on March 10 after she found that the tires on her car had been slashed in her friend’s garage. The victim had fled from her own home to her friend’s house just a day earlier, fearful after she realized someone had broken into her garage and gotten into her car, according to a police report.
But before police arrived at the scene, the two women said they spotted the suspected stalker, Richard Gabriel Garcia, 40, sitting in a car nearby. He fled before police arrived, though, nearly hitting the stalking victim’s friend with his car as he escaped, according to a police report.
When police arrived and discovered the device, it explained how the woman’s stalker had tracked her to her friend’s house, the victim said. It also led the woman to conclude that Garcia hadn’t just been stalking her — he’d also been the person harassing her online by posting nude photos of her and comments meant to ruin her reputation, she told police.
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Garcia was arrested March 12 on third-degree felony stalking charges, according to Bexar County Jail records. Garcia’s bail has been set at $15,000.
It was the latest move in a series of harassing behaviors the woman told police had upended her life in recent years, KSAT reports. The victim had reported the online harassment to police in early February.
That harassment included an anonymous person sharing nude pictures of the woman on the internet after breaking into her phone and email account, the victim told police. Other anonymous online postings called her a “slut” and “home wrecker,” she said, seeking to ruin her professional reputation. She was even accused of swiping narcotics from a medical center where she worked, KSAT reports.
To an extent, the efforts to ruin her reputation worked, the woman told police. The woman said she lost custody of her child after her ex-husband cited the online posts in court, according to the arrest affidavit reviewed by KSAT. The judge gave her ex-husband full custody and mentioned the woman’s “poor decision making” as a reason.
It wasn’t the first tracking device he’d put on her car, either, police said. The victim filed a police report in 2015 over a GPS tracker Garcia admitted to placing on the car, KSAT reports, but the woman elected not to press charges, police said.
The victim said that Garcia, who had previously been her friend, was apologetic following the 2015 incident, the San Antonio Express-News reports.
The victim and the friend she was staying with told police the victim had previously given Garcia keys to her house and that he could have made copies to use.