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Hazel Park man who stalked ex-girlfriend to Minnesota sentenced 

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published July 23, 2019

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HAZEL PARK — A man who traveled from Hazel Park to Minnesota to track down and possibly harm his ex-girlfriend has been sentenced to more than three years in federal prison. 

Shawn Kelly Thomason, 39, of Hazel Park, pleaded guilty to interstate stalking and was sentenced by Judge Eric C. Tostrud in the U.S. District Court of Minnesota on July 10.

Thomason was originally charged in the 5th Judicial District of Blue Earth County in Mankato, Minnesota, with two felony stalking counts, a gross misdemeanor stalking charge, illegally installing a tracking device and domestic abuse. Those charges were dismissed once the case was taken to federal court.

“We were very happy with the sentence,” said Emily Polachek, the lead prosecutor. “The court moved upwards from the advisory guideline sentence, and we’re happy with that since we believe stalking is a serious crime that often escalates to violence or homicide against women, especially for victims who were former intimate partners of their stalker. The court took this seriously, imposing a very serious sentence, recognizing stalking for what it is, which is a forceful act of aggression, a display of power and control, and a punishable offense.”

Lisa Lopez, the public defender for Thomason, did not return calls for comment by press time. The Minneapolis division of the FBI and the Mankato Police Department also did not return calls for comment.

The arrest occurred Dec. 7, 2018. Thomason had departed for Minnesota the day prior “for the purpose of placing the victim under surveillance with intent to kill, injure, harass or intimidate her, and in the course of his travel … engaged in conduct that would be reasonably expected to cause substantial emotional distress to the victim,” according to the order of detention.

Jeremy Clifton, a commander with the Mankato Police Department, told the Madison-Park News in January that the woman had cut off communications with Thomason, but she suspected he would come looking for her after she moved to her new home in Minnesota. She brought her concerns to the police, and authorities later found two GPS tracking devices on the underside of her vehicle, prompting a criminal investigation to look for Thomason.

“She provided information that showed what looked like a pattern of harassment or stalking,” Clifton previously said. “We tried to figure out how he might arrive in our state. Is it by bus, train, plane or automobile? From there, we determined the vehicle he arrived in. We put it out to nearby law enforcement agencies, and the vehicle was located with him inside.”

Police confronted Thomason on Dec. 7 while he was sitting inside his rental vehicle in a city near Mankato. He was arrested without incident. Inside the vehicle, police found a variety of items that Thomason allegedly claimed had an innocent explanation.

These included a loaded handgun and ammunition, bags lined with foil to block cellphone signals so that he couldn’t be tracked by cell towers, women’s clothing and makeup, video cameras, gloves, electrical tape, and a script that appeared to contain what Thomason wanted to tell his ex, including lines such as “People get shot over this,” and “You will honor your commitment.” 

Also in December, the FBI raided the suspect’s home in Hazel Park on a search warrant, following which Kevin Smith, the public affairs officer with the Minneapolis division of the FBI, said it was crucial to finding the suspect before he found his intended target, saying, “That’s what we call staying ahead of the threat.”

The prosecuting attorney said that she hopes Thomason’s conviction sends a powerful message.  

“We hope that this case will deter other would-be stalkers and empower victims to seek assistance from the justice system before it’s too late,” Polachek said.

Call Staff Writer Andy Kozlowski at (586) 279-1104.