Saturday, April 11, 2009
Costume Designer Charged with Cyberstalking
By Donita Naylor and Tatiana Pina
The problem started with a poorly made SpongeBob costume, and ended with a cyberstalking arrest.
In between, Tracy Sisson says, were two years of harassment: prank calls, hangups, telemarketing calls and phony applications, as many as 60 a day.
In 2001, Sisson, 33, of Cranston, Rhode Island (U.S.) ordered the character costume, called a Yellow Cheese to avoid copyright infringement, and put $500 down on a costume resembling Bob the Builder, for her party rental business. But she was not happy with the quality of the Yellow Cheese, she said in an interview Wednesday, because of unsightly glue drips. When she called Bruna Puppets and Costumes, of Providence, to cancel the builder costume, owner Ann Bruno refused to return her deposit.
Sisson and her husband, Keith, own Absolute Fun Party Rentals and the Absolute Fun Party Center, in Cranston. She and Bruno, 59, met again in 2006 when Sisson was arranging mortgages at Able Financial Services and Bruno got a job there. Sisson told her boss that she felt uncomfortable working with Bruno and planned to leave. Bruno was laid off, she said.
Later that year, around September, Sisson told the police she began getting mysterious phone calls and Internet messages from companies indicating she had filled out applications. She had not. Her phone was ringing as she came home from the hospital with her third son. “I was walking in the door with my brand-new baby, and someone was calling for my husband.” It was a female voice, she said, and the caller hung up.
Was her husband having an affair while she was giving birth?
On Monday, the police charged Bruno, of West Warwick, with cyberstalking, a misdemeanor. She was issued a summons to appear at District Court, Warwick, on April 14.
Earlier that day, Sisson called the police from the Cranston Public Library, saying she recognized a woman at the computers who might be involved. Bruno wasn’t aware that two officers were standing behind her, a police report said. They watched as she typed Sisson’s name and business address onto an application.
Bruno told the police she was the victim, that she had received harassing phone calls and that applications were filled out in her name.
She said that Sisson had gotten her fired from her job.
Sisson’s business, operating a party center and renting items for home parties, started seven years ago. It’s a family operation, she said. Nieces and nephews appear as characters in costumes, her sister does face painting and temporary tattoos and her husband delivers water slides, moon-bouncers, tables, chairs and tents.
Bruno, who started designing fashions as a student at Cranston High School East, has a shop in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Providence. The shelves are lined with costume heads of bunnies, Mickey Mouse-like creatures and characters that Bruno has made, along with wigs, vinyl go-go boots and costumes she has sewn, such as a Southern belle. Bruno refused to comment.
Tracy Sisson said she started asking callers how they got her number and was told she or her husband had filled out cards at a home show or business expo. Neither had attended those shows, she said.
Typical - the cyberharasser plays VICTIM! Sounds like Angela Buer, Nathan Thomas, Dan Jacoby, Yidwithlid, Ed Hicks...