YOLO COUNTY (CBS13) — The conviction of a Yolo County man for harassing victims with text messages near UC Davis came as a surprise to experts who say such convictions are rare.
Yolo County investigators say 35-year-old Erik Bowling is a classic cyberstalker who used his cellphone to harass at least a dozen victims.
They did not disclose how Bowling got the victims’ cellphone numbers, but they say it can be as simple as pulling the information from a Facebook page and using social media to monitor their every move.
Four months after his arrest, Bowling was convicted and sentenced for his crime.
Alexis Moore of Folsom is an expert on stalking after being a victim 10 years ago.
“It was relentless. It went on for approximately two years,” Moore said.
In 2004, she says an ex-boyfriend hacked into her online accounts, shut off her utilities and emptied her bank account. She started a nonprofit to help stalking victims and even wrote a book on the subject.
According to the National District Attorneys Association, it’s difficult to even find cyber suspects, because most law enforcement agencies don’t have the money or manpower to look for them.
Yolo County has a unit dedicated to work cases such as Bowling’s, and it also investigates online child predators.
Moore says it’s a crime that’s usually overlooked.
“It’s very, very good to hear that there’s actually a case being prosecuted and so successfully in Yolo County,” she said.
Bowling will spend nearly a year behind bars and four years on probation.