Mountain View Police detectives arrested 29-year-old Los Altos resident Matthew Cringle Nov. 19 for allegedly stalking a former female classmate for more than 10 years.
Last April 23, officers responded to a home in Mountain View where a woman informed them she had discovered explicit messages in an inbox on her Facebook account. The messages came from several accounts, all of which appeared to be fake. However, based on messages the victim had previously been sent, she believed Cringle ran the accounts.
The Mountain View Police Department’s Cyber Crime Unit investigated the case, examining the Facebook accounts that sent the threatening messages. Facebook’s ability to provide anonymity led detectives to execute a series of search warrants to determine the identity of the perpetrator behind them.
During the investigation, detectives maintained communication with the victim, interviewing her and providing updates when possible. In the end, the Cyber Crime Unit determined she was correct – Cringle, a former classmate, had sent the derogatory messages.
Detectives reported that Cringle and the victim were in a class together at a local high school. Once during class, Cringle coughed, and the victim asked him to cover his mouth. After that, Cringle allegedly became obsessed with her.
Once social media became popular, Facebook in particular, officers said Cringle created fake profiles and would send sexually explicit messages to the victim, her friends and her family. Detectives also revealed that Cringle sent the victim sexually violent and threatening messages. Most recently, he used his personal email to bombard the victim with even more messages, and asked where she resided.
Police took Cringle into custody without incident Nov. 19. He is being held without bail at the Santa Clara County Main Jail. He faces charges of felony stalking, stalking under a prohibited restraining order, stalking after having been convicted of a prior felony and criminal threats.
“(Cringle) has had enough opportunities to change his behavior, and he still didn’t stop,” Sgt. Tim Dahl said in a police department press release. “She shouldn’t have to live in fear.”