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California man made 10,000 harassing calls to government offices, officials say

A Southern California man has been arrested on suspicion of making more than 10,000 harassing phone calls to government offices, including some that included death threats against those answering the phone, federal prosecutors said.

Robert Stahlnecker, 48, was arrested at his home in the Mojave Desert town of Twentynine Palms on Friday and held in federal custody after making an initial court appearance, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

He was charged with threatening federal officers and employees, making interstate communications with the threat to injure a person and anonymous telecommunications harassment.

There is no listing for his home phone number, and it couldn’t immediately be determined if he had an attorney. His arraignment was scheduled for Dec. 26.

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According to a 20-page complaint filed in federal court, the calls included three he made within five minutes on Aug. 28 to a congresswoman’s office in San Mateo. Prosecutors said he threatened to come to the office and kill the staffer who answered the phone.

He also is accused of making eight calls in seven minutes to the Washington office of a U.S. senator from Ohio on Sept. 28. During the calls, prosecutors said, he used vulgar language in berating and threatening to kill an intern who answered the phone.

Neither member of Congress was identified.

In all, prosecutors said, Stahlnecker has made more than 10,000 calls to government agencies and elected officials since January.


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