A 56-year-old man from Montana allegedly stalked a Chicago teenager for months after a chance encounter at a convenience store, Cook County prosecutors said Saturday.
Robert Parelius, of Bozeman, Mont., hung his head low as prosecutors described the stalking that began last May, which allegedly included peering at the boy’s home through satellite images available on the Internet and printing a photo of the teen on his boxer shorts.
Parelius, who once lived a few blocks away from the teen's home on the Northwest Side, told police he saw the teenager at a 7-Eleven store in Chicago and eventually learned the teenager’s name, according to Assistant State’s Attorney Eric Bashirian. Starting in May 2011, Parelius began calling the teen, claiming to be a childhood friend, Bashirian said.
But the teen's mother, who often answered the phone, grew suspicious because Parelius had a deep voice, prosecutors said. She asked her phone carrier to unmask the blocked calls, which stopped soon afterward, prosecutors said.
In March, Parelius began leaving voicemail messages for the teen, saying he knew where the boy lived, which high school he attended and named places where the two could meet, Bashirian said. Parelius purchased phone cards to call from his cell phone and told the teen to be on the look-out for him, prosecutors said.
A police investigation revealed the calls came from Parelius' cell and that his computer contained Internet searches of the teen's high school football roster. He was arrested in Montana July 26 and charged with three counts of stalking and three counts of cyberstalking.
Parelius, who stayed mostly silent in court after being transferred to Cook County Jail, is a diabetic who worked as a meat clerk at Wal-Mart, said Elyse Epstein, his public defender. He also attended Columbia College Chicago, she said.
In bond court, Parelius was held in lieu of $1 million bail. He was ordered to steer clear of the teenager and his family, and to stay away from the Internet and anyone under the age of 18.
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