After receiving numerous phone calls from an unknown man at work, COC student Alyssa Wheeler, a 19-year-old waitress at the local Canyon Country IHOP, began to suspect that these sporadic inquiries were more than just coincidental — she was being stalked.
According to authorities, the man’s name was Arthur and he was a resident of Burbank, Calif. who already had a warrant out for his arrest after he attempted to sexually assault a 12-year-old girl in Northridge, Calif. about three months ago.
When the calls first began, Wheeler never suspected that anything serious or dangerous would come of it. The only people she told were her family and boyfriend, Oivind Eichenberger.
However, this all changed on Nov. 3 when the man called impersonating an older woman and asking if Wheeler was working that night. Worried for her safety, Wheeler contacted her boyfriend, who quickly rushed over.
When he arrived he spotted a suspicious man in the parking lot leaning against a black Honda without a license plate. The man was staring intensely into the restaurant. Convinced that this could be his girlfriend’s stalker, Eichenberger began to approach him.
Before he could get too close, though, the man climbed into his vehicle while muttering the threat: “Tell that blondie to watch out!”
This encounter prompted the couple to contact authorities, but with little to no details about who the stalker was, the police could not offer much assistance.
The man was suspected to be a very successful hacker and on Nov. 6, he used his skills to make contact with Eichenberger, the boyfriend, yet again, this time through a phone call.
Wheeler attended a 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. psychology class at the Valencia campus on Wednesday nights. Fifteen minutes into the class, Eichenberger received a call from the stalker warning him to get to Wheeler’s class before it ended, because he would be waiting for her when it did.
Eichenberger arrived at the campus and escorted his girlfriend home. Seeing that there was no immediate threat, Eichenberger returned to his own home.
Soon after his arrival he heard his car alarm go off and he went outside to investigate. That is when he found a note on his windshield with the printed message, “I know where you live.”
The next morning, Nov. 7, Eichenberger went to Wheeler’s house to see her off before she left for work. As he drove out of Wheeler’s neighborhood, he realized that a black Honda was following closely behind him.
Recognizing the vehicle, Eichenberger quickly contacted authorities who directed him to proceed cautiously into a nearby establishment and wait for them before making any kind of decision that could scare the man off.
At 10:15 a.m., authorities arrived at a Mobil gas station located on Newhall Ave. where they surrounded the alleged culprit and made an arrest.
Wheeler can now find some comfort in knowing that her suspected stalker is behind bars.
This experience however, will stick with Wheeler for the rest of her life, because even though she came out unharmed, her peace of mind has been forever altered.
“I never thought something like this would happen to me,” she said. “But now that it has I will always keep my guard up. I even moved my pepper spray from my purse to my key ring, just in case.”