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The Journal Gazette

  • Stoffer

Saturday, September 07, 2019 1:00 am

Guilty plea entered on 6 counts of stalking

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

A Fort Wayne man police say used Facebook to find and stalk girls at gymnastics practice faces up to four years in prison after pleading guilty Friday. 

Brad S. Stoffer, 49, of the 7000 block of Lismore Lane, was charged with 12 counts of stalking and pleaded guilty in Allen Superior Court to six of them. A plea agreement calls for punishment ranging from nine years' probation to four years in prison and eight years' probation. 

A sentencing hearing is scheduled Oct. 25. 

Investigators said Stoffer used social media to find girls. Other times, they say he simply opened the phone book, made a call and asked to speak to the daughter of whoever answered. 

It's a pattern that started in 2011 and unnerved some area parents, according to court documents. 

“You as parents are there to protect your kids, and this just takes it out of your hands,” the mother of one of the girls told a Fort Wayne police detective in October 2018. “I'm fearful for myself and I can't let her know that. My husband, he's angry. I think it just took her innocence away, and I'm angry about that.”

Detectives sought a search warrant in September for Stoffer's Facebook page and found searches for the girls, a probable cause affidavit alleges. He searched for some dozens of times, the document states. 

In phone calls, Stoffer said his name was Mike or “Coach Mike,” police said. Investigators said they caught him looking in windows at girls in a gym.

Stoffer confessed in an interview with detectives and wrote an apology to the victims, court documents state. 

mleblanc@jg.net