Stalker agrees to mental health evaluation
A man accused of stalking a neighbor for more than three years agreed to undergo a mental health evaluation and move away from his victim.
Steven Edwin Ahrens, 35, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Douglas County District Court to two gross misdemeanors: conspiracy to commit theft and second offense stalking. He is facing a possible sentence of two years in the county jail and a $4,000 fine. A psychological evaluation conducted after his arraignment found Ahrens competent to stand trial.
Ahrens was arrested Jan. 29 after the woman reported seeing a prowler in her back yard. Deputies caught Ahrens running away from the woman’s home.
During a subsequent search of his residence, investigators said they found evidence that Ahrens was videotaping the woman’s front door and keeping a record of her comings and goings. There were numerous photographs of the woman – some of them enlarged and framed – in Ahrens’ home.
The woman told investigators that she met Ahrens while she was a waitress and Ahrens was a cook at the Lakeside Inn & Casino. She said her friendship with Ahrens ended when he asked her to commit to him. When she refused, Ahrens allegedly became angry and his “bizarre” behavior began.
A certified locksmith, Ahrens told investigators that he made a key to the woman’s home in August 1998, and entered the house when no one was there. Ahrens followed the woman during her daily activities and had even rummaged through her trash and kept certain items, investigators said. Ahrens claimed he sought spiritual help from the “elders” of his church to stop his obsession to no avail.
As part of his plea agreement, Ahrens agreed: to complete any counseling or treatment recommended by a mental health evaluation; to not be employed or work as a locksmith; to forfeit all items seized from his house including the video equipment and locksmith tools; and to relocate from the woman’s neighborhood.
Ahrens also agreed to plead to a second offense stalking charge even though he had not been previously convicted of stalking. Deputy District Attorney Alan Buttell said the second offense classification was closer to the actual scope of Ahrens activity.
Ahrens is set for sentencing on April 20.
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