A woman who contacted police about suspicious activity around her car Thursday had been the target of harassment from the man arrested in the incident. That allegation was made Friday by La Vista Police Chief Robert Lausten.
The Omaha Bomb Squad was called to the La Vista campus of Metropolitan Community College Thursday morning after police were notified of a suspicious device attached to a parked car. It turned out someone had attached water balloons to the car and had placed some under the car.
What appeared at first to be a simple prank may be much more serious. Police Chief Lausten said in a news release the 32-year-old woman has been followed and harassed on the MCC campus by 30-year-old James Bunner of Council Bluffs.
Lausten also revealed that Bunner was also sending harassing texts and personal communication via cell phone to the woman. Lausten said the woman reported she was being stalked by Bunner and that when she left class Thursday she discovered a number of liquid-filled balloons on and under her car. She became frightened and called police.
Bunner was later located, questioned and jailed for misdemeanor disturbing the peace. He was served with a protection order on behalf of the victim.
“This incident started when the two people involved having gone out on at least one date, she didn't want to continue the relationship, he did,” said MCC Police Chief Dave Friend.
The woman told La Vista police that after denying his advances, Bunner began stalking her, following her around campus and sending harassing texts to her cell phone.
Dawn Conley works at Heartland Family Service and says it's important for stalking victims to keep a log. “Make sure that they keep that documentation. Some people get so disturbed by it that they just want to delete it and it's just very important that you save that.”
As final recourse, a victim should get a protection order against the stalker, though that may not end the harassment. “A protection order is just a piece of paper so if someone doesn't care a piece of paper isn't going to keep them away, but what it does show is that you've taken those steps to be safe.”
Conley also suggests telling loved ones about any strange behavior. “The more people that know what's happening, the safer you’re going to be because you’re not alone and it’s not going to be a surprise to anybody.”
Campus police says any student or staff member who has a protection order needs to alert campus police to make sure they are aware of it.