Man Found Guilty of Stalking Victim With GPS Tracking Device

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News from the Office of District Attorney George Gascón

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 20, 2018
Twitter: @GeorgeGascon
CONTACT:     ALEX BASTIAN
 (415) 553-1931     |        MAX SZABO (415) 553-1931 

MAN FOUND GUILTY OF STALKING VICTIM WITH GPS TRACKING DEVICE

SAN FRANCISCO — Today, District Attorney George Gascón announced that a jury found Joshua Elliott, age 45, of San Francisco, guilty of stalking and domestic violence.  The jury deliberated for five hours and returned the verdict late on Friday afternoon.

“This victim was absolutely terrorized by his stalker, he was living in fear,” said District Attorney George Gascón.  “I commend him for getting out of an abusive relationship, and I urge anyone living in fear to come forward and to contact authorities.  We are here to help.”   

According to court records, Mr. Elliott and the victim were in a dating relationship and cohabitated for two months in 2017. The victim ended the relationship after an escalating pattern of possessive and controlling behavior.  

Beginning in early January, 2018, Mr. Elliott sent the victim messages alluding to knowing where the victim was.  At times the victim felt he was being followed.  However, unbeknownst to the victim, on December 28, 2018, Elliott purchased a GPS tracking device manufactured by a company called Spytec. The device is marketed to law enforcement personnel and civilians with interests in spyware. The device, which Elliott attached to the victim’s vehicle, comes with software that allows users to monitor its physical location.

On January 17, 2018, the victim was leaving SFGH at 2 AM.  The victim received a text message from Elliott and simultaneously noticed that the Defendant was driving by him slowly and staring him down as he entered his vehicle outside the hospital.

Approximately one week later, the victim was at home in San Pablo, CA. He went outside to walk his dog with a friend and found Elliott sitting there. Elliott confronted the victim and verbally asserted that he has the power and control, and that if he did not do as told things were going to “get worse” for him.

On February 16, 2018, the victim was driving across the Bay Bridge from San Pablo at approximately 4:50 am on his way to work when he noticed a car “keeping pace” with him. The victim recognized the occupant inside to be Elliott. Despite the victim making a detour to avoid Elliott, when he arrived at work he was confronted by the defendant who had been waiting for him in the work parking lot. Elliott approached the victim and stopped him from entering his workplace.  Elliott told the victim that he “won’t be doing this everyday,” and when the victim asked what he meant, Elliott said that the victim would not be “getting up everyday.” Elliott realized that the victim had a cell phone that was recording the incident, and thereafter attacked the victim in an effort to get his phone. A struggle ensued, during which the victim sustained minor wounds to his hand and back. After bystanders intervened, Elliott fled the scene and the victim contacted police.

On February 20, 2018, the victim was at the Hall of Justice giving a follow up statement regarding the February 16 incident with SVU when the victim received a text from Elliott saying, “What do you know? While meandering around the city, I happened to see your car by the courthouse.  Could be a work coincidence.” GPS records associated with the tracking device revealed Elliott tracked the victim to where his car was parked by the courthouse.

On February 23, 2018, the victim-certain he was being followed-inspected his vehicle and discovered a magnetic box labeled “SpyTec” stuck to the driver’s side rear wheel well of his vehicle.  He took photos of the box.  In fear of what might occur should Elliott discover that he was on to him, and in order to make it appear as though the device had not been discovered, the victim put the GPS device back on his vehicle.

On February 24, 2018, the victim drove to Georgetown, California to visit his mother’s property.  The victim received a text message the next day from Elliott which said in part, “I don’t suppose I have to tell you how beautiful the property is.”  That morning, February 25, while at his mother’s residence, the victim checked his vehicle and saw that the tracking device had been removed from the vehicle.  

On March 9, 2018, the victim received numerous text messages from Elliott stating that “Today was the day,” and that this particular day marked the “turning point.”  The victim also noticed that on that day the tracker had reappeared on his vehicle in the same location. Terrified this meant that today was the day Elliott intended to carry out his final plan of attack, the victim permanently removed the tracker.

On March 21, 2018 at approximately 3:30 am, the victim had his car parked near his work so that he could sleep.  Since the incidents with Elliott began, he often would stay at work because he knew there was a security camera aimed at the entrance of the parking lot. While in his vehicle he noticed another car pass by without its headlights on. The victim pulled out of the parking lot and noticed that the other car was Elliott’s vehicle.  The victim attempted to get away and called 911 to report that Elliott had been following him. Elliott followed the victim for approximately two miles until he parked to meet with officers who had been sent to him by dispatch. Later that morning, the victim was at work when he saw Elliott parked outside of his workplace once again.  The victim immediately called 911. Elliott left prior to the police arriving.

Elliott was subsequently arrested on a DA warrant.  A review of the data records associated with the tracking device used in this case shows that Elliott utilized a geofence feature of the software. It allowed users to set up an alert system that notifies the user when the tracking device enters within a certain radius of specific locations. The data revealed that Elliott was monitoring the victim’s mother’s home in Georgetown CA, the victim’s trailer area, the victim’s place of business, the victim’s grandparent’s home, and a victim’s friend’s home in Roseville, CA.

“We all have the freedom to decide who we want to be with,” said ADA Courtney Burris.  “But when a decision to end a relationship is met with threats, harassment and intimidation, that is criminal, and there will be consequences.”

The Honorable Ethan Schulman presided.  Mr. Elliott will be sentenced on September 21stin Department 25 at 9 AM.  This successful prosecution is the result of an investigation conducted by SFPD’s Special Victims Unit.  Special thanks go to Sgts. John Keane and Brendan Caraway.  Additional thanks go to Victim Advocate Thu Tran, Paralegal Andrew Ong, and to Morris Moore and D’Aundre Lewis for IT Support.  Assistant District Attorney Courtney Burris prosecuted the case. 

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