SARATOGA SPRINGS —A 62-year-old Albany man accused of posting videos and photographs of female runners in and around Saratoga Springs to an Instagram account has been charged with stalking in the fourth-degree.
Charles A. Ross, of Grant Avenue in Albany, was taken into custody and processed on the active arrest warrant for the charged misdemeanor and subsequently released without bail to pre-trial services.
In August, the Saratoga Springs Police Department reported it had been made aware of the social media account that displayed videos and photographs taken in public places and that it began to investigate the matter to determine if any crime has occurred. Police also asked anyone recognizing themselves on the social media website regarding the case to contact them. One such person has apparently stepped forward.
According to court documents, the suspect is alleged on Aug. 18 to have “intentionally and for no legitimate purpose” followed a woman from the Saratoga Spa State Park to Broadway near Caroline Street, conduct which – the report adds – was likely to cause reasonable fear of material harm to the woman’s health and safety.
“I felt like someone was watching me or following me and I felt unsafe,” the unnamed woman, who is in her early 20s, told police related to her run that began in the Saratoga Spa State Park. She added that she felt sufficiently unsafe to the point that she moved off of her normal running path to get away from the road.
The woman was later informed by a friend of the social media website and recognized herself in multiple images and/or videos, according to court documents.
An apparent 2018 arrest image, widely circulated on social media without attribution, allegedly depicts Ross with short gray hair. The fall 2018 image is connected with a felony stalking charge of Charles A. Ross of Whitehall – then 57 years old – who was arrested shortly after South Glens Falls Police received complaints that he followed a group of 12- and 13-year-old girls near a middle school while driving a Mr. Ding-A-Ling ice cream truck, the Post-Star reported at the time. The girls believed he was either videotaping or taking photos of them, and the man had also been the subject of a similar complaint in Lake George earlier in the year, but no charges were filed.
A more recent image, posted by NewsChannel 13 and filmed inside Saratoga Springs city court, depicts Ross with shoulder-length lightened hair and black-frame eyeglasses, nearly unrecognizable from the image of five years ago. Given the current charge in Saratoga Springs is a misdemeanor, city police said they will not be releasing a current arrest image.