SCHUYLERVILLE, N.Y. – A man accused of using his small airplane to stalk a woman for more than four years in Upstate New York was arrested for the third time in a single week for reportedly tormenting her, according to authorities.
The defendant was identified as Michael Arnold, 65, a retired merchant marine. He denied knowing the victim, identified as Cassie Wilusz, 42, when he was taken into custody on Tuesday, Fox News reported.
“I don’t know her, she’s crazy,” Arnold said on his way into Saratoga Town Court. He claimed he’d only eaten at her restaurant once and didn’t return after coming down with food poisoning.
However, Wilusz, the owner of Revolution Cafe in the small village of Schuylerville, has video evidence that reportedly shows him circling her home in his plane as well as following her in his vehicle.
Arnold faces nine counts of criminal contempt and was arraigned on Tuesday. The charges stem from an arrest on Friday for using a Facebook account with a bogus name to reportedly harass her and threaten her daughter in violation of an order of protection.
Once he left court, deputies with the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office arrested him regarding a fresh stalking charge, the department said.
“I feel relieved that he’s in custody at the moment,” Wilusz told Fox News Digital during an interview at her cafe on Tuesday. “He hopefully realizes the time has come, and he has to actually answer to the charges.”
However, within a short period of time, Arnold was released on bail.
On Oct. 3, Arnold was arrested at an airport in Vermont after he was accused of repeatedly circling Wilusz’s home in his single-engine Cessna. The act was reportedly a violation of a protection order that banned him from flying, according to a news release from the Bennington Police Department.
The FBI is now involved in the investigation, which led to Arnold’s arrest. He posted $5,000 bail and was released from custody.
Wilusz, whose husband recently died of cancer, told the news outlet that Arnold is a former customer. She said she rejected his vulgar advances in 2019 and he’s terrorized her and her family ever since.
Wilusz said Arnold emailed her photos of him posing with nude women. She told him he crossed the line, and that’s when he allegedly ramped up his harassing behavior.
The defendant’s actions have included flying over Wilusz’s home several times a week and following her in his car when she drove to work, walked her dog or took her daughter to school.
As her husband was dying of colon cancer earlier this year, Arnold flew his airplane so low that it rattled the windows, she said.
“I didn’t know if he’d fly into our home. I didn’t know what he was capable of,” Wilusz previously told Fox.
Wilusz filed at least 10 police reports and she didn’t think the prosecutor’s office took her allegations seriously.
Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen said that was not true, but they had to determine what actions were actually unlawful.
Schuylerville Mayor Dan Carpenter said that part of the problem was that officials had to determine whether Arnold was flying low enough for the conduct to constitute stalking.
Fortunately, the most recent order of protection includes a ban on flying, which made a violation much easier to prove, he said.
Wilusz wasn’t the only community member complaining about Arnold’s antics. Carpenter fielded numerous calls from concerned residents once the pilot reportedly dropped tomatoes from his plane on the properties of Wilusz and her neighbors, Fox reported.
“The community has concerns about his mental stability,” the mayor said. “What is the next escalation? If it goes too far, is he willing to fly a plane into Cassie’s house? We live in a small residential area. That’s not going to just affect Cassie.”
Arnold’s harassment has included posting disturbing messages online by using a Facebook account with a fictitious name, according to prosecutors.
“Nobody ever stalked that. As our member mike said, ‘not my type.’ He said he has way better standards,” Arnold allegedly wrote, referring to himself, in a Facebook post on Wilusz’s business page.
Wilusz’s husband passed away in May. After his death, Arnold reportedly implied that her karma was responsible for his demise and suggested that her 14-year-old daughter would be next, prosecutors said.
Fox reached out to Arnold’s lawyer who declined to comment on the case.