NORTH ATTLEBORO (CBS) – Police arrested a man they say nailed a video camera onto a tree outside his ex-girlfriend’s house so he could monitor who was coming and going from her home.
Bellingham resident Michael Vieira, 39, pleaded not guilty Monday on wiretapping, criminal harassment and trespass charges.
She wished not to be identified but the victim wants to share her frightening story in hopes that it could help someone else.
“To think somebody is lurking around my house and peeking in my windows. Very scary,” she told WBZ-TV’s Juli McDonald.
Her peace of mind, her comfort in her own home, stolen by an ex-boyfriend she had met online. They broke up in July; but police say he never stopped watching.
“This could literally be like a Lifetime story,” she said.
It was her North Attleboro neighbors who first called police, unsettled by Michael Vieira’s truck, parked down the street night after night.
“The police encouraged me to get a restraining order, but the judge denied that order,” she explained.
Concerning behavior allegedly continued and in October, a friend noticed a camera, posted to a tree in the yard.
“She couldn’t even barely speak. She was frantic. Scared for me,” she said.
After a lengthy investigation, Michael Vieira of Bellingham was arrested, charged with illegal wiretapping, criminal harassment and trespassing.
“The camera company had everything saved,” she said. “In fact the files included a picture of Michael photographing himself while he was testing the camera.”
And she fears she wasn’t only being watched.
“I found a voice recorder that was put in my car and the spare key to my car was taken.”
As she now tries to move on from the nightmare, she hopes her story will encourage other women in fear to speak up.
“There were some red flags there just around his obsessiveness and jealousy. Your gut, your intuition is a powerful thing. Always listen to that.”
Michael Vieira is free on $1,000 cash bail after pleading innocent this week. He must stay away from the victim and is due back in court next month.