New Mexico Republican Arrested for Stalking Political Rival
(NEW YORK) -- A former Republican candidate for Congress in New Mexico is being held for allegedly stalking his opponent after he was previously arrested for allegedly slashing her tires.
Gary Smith, 56, was arrested Wednesday on felony aggravated stalking charges when former Republican nominee for Congress Janice Arnold-Jones' husband spotted Smith's car near their Albuquerque home on New Year's Day. Arnold-Jones' surveillance video also captured the red car pulling up near her driveway, according to police.
Det. Lorenzo Garcia told ABC News on Wednesday that Smith made a statement that he didn't know driving by Arnold-Jones' home was a violation of his bail, although a judge told him to stay away from the premises after he was arrested on Dec. 28, and charged with criminal damage to property for allegedly slashing her tires.
"A candidate for Congress was violating another candidate's vehicle. These are all stalking charges. Who knows if he was there all night, if he was planning to do vandalism or further harm," Garcia said.
Smith ran against Arnold-Jones in New Mexico's first congressional district primary back in June. Arnold-Jones won the primary but lost the general election to Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham.
Arnold-Jones became suspicious of numerous tire slashings around the neighborhood and set up a surveillance system outside her home.
"The morning of the [December] 20th at 3:30 a.m., Gary Smith is very visible taking out all of our tires yet again. All eight tires," Arnold-Jones told ABC News.
Smith's former campaign manager, Rhead Story, says his tires were slashed some 54 times and believes his former boss is behind it.
"I'm scared for my children. I'm scared for everyone else that's involved, because something has gone wrong," said Story. "The power steering fluid was punctured and the windshield wiper hose was ripped out. He could have been going for the brake lines, we don't know."
"He's been warned to not come near any of us. Not even our neighborhood yet he's here," Arnold-Jones said after Smith's latest arrest.
Smith is scheduled to appear in court Friday and other charges may come, Garcia said.
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