MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Lakeville middle school principal was charged Thursday with stalking a police detective who had been investigating him for stalking another person.
Forty-nine-year-old Christopher Jerome Endicott, who was arrested Wednesday night, was charged with gross misdemeanor stalking after an investigation that started last month, according to the Dakota County Attorney’s office.
He was placed on administrative leave from Century Middle School in Lakeville in January after police announced they were looking into accusations involving the misuse of school computers.
His wife, a teacher at Scott Highlands Middle School in Apple Valley, was also under investigation, which was prompted by one of her co-workers who went to police after somebody remotely reset her district-issued iPad and moved private documents.
Investigators obtained a search warrant for the Endicott’s Apple Valley home last month, and evidence from the search indicated that he was not only stalking that victim, but several others.
“We’ve spoken to a number of victims who have been stalked by him, and they are scared to death of him,” said Apple Valley Police Cpt. Nick Francis.
Endicott allegedly followed his victims, illegally entered their homes and vehicles and stole their personal information.
Police said Endicott was in possession of vehicle information, social security numbers, passwords, various addresses, family member names — all which could be used to aid in monitoring his victims’ activities.
An Apple Valley detective received warrants on Jan. 12 to monitor Endicott with a GPS tracker attached to his vehicle, and to enable geo-fences in locations that he frequented.
GPS data showed that on the evening of Feb. 3, Endicott’s vehicle was in the area of the detective’s home, who lived six-and-a-half miles away from the defendant. Endicott most likely found information on the detective from the search warrant. This spurred the detective to set up another geo-fence around his own neighborhood.
“Our detective that’s been investigating this noticed via this tracking information that Mr. Endicott was in front of his house essentially, spending time around our investigator’s house,” Francis said.
Two days later, data showed Endicott had returned to the area of the detective’s home. Later that day, he was traced and observed near the Apple Valley Police Department at two separate occasions: once for four minutes, and once for 45 minutes.
Police say he drove around the parking lot the first time, then was parked the second time. Investigators believe he was there to gather information about police vehicles, and monitor the whereabouts of officers. He left the area the second time after being approached by an officer.
Endicott then drove directly to the Roseville Licensing Center, where investigators believe he accessed registration information on the police vehicles. He then then drove back to the police department to supposedly see which officers were there. He returned twice the next day to drive around the department’s parking lot.
On Feb. 8, GPS data showed that Endicott was in Shakopee near the home of another possible stalking victim. Police soon tracked him down, stopped his vehicle, questioned him and let him go.
Soon after that traffic stop, GPS data indicated that Endicott likely removed the tracker from his vehicle. Detectives, who were staking out his home, witnessed him looking under his wife’s vehicle with a flashlight. Her vehicle later left the home, but it was not clear who was driving — but data showed the tracker had remained at the residence.
Officers obtained another warrant to search the Endicott’s home that evening, where they found several electronic devices, hard drives, checkbooks, mail and other items that belonged to other people. His wife was interviewed by investigators, and said she couldn’t think of a reason why her husband would regularly be in the area of the detective’s home, nor did she use his car during the time it was being monitored.
“They don’t deserve to live in fear, and they certainly don’t deserve someone who’s being investigated for some very significant crimes to be hanging out at their home or even here at the police department without a reason to be here,” Francis said.
Police believe this is just the tip of the iceberg. They still are not sure how many victims there may be.
Investigators say Endicott pleaded guilty to shoplifting in North Dakota in 2016, and has a history of identity and banking information theft. School district officials say he was hired four years earlier and passed the background check at that time.
Endicott posted his $6,000 bail late Thursday afternoon.
“There is no limit to what we might find once we continue to dig into these electronic evidences. There absolutely will be more charges.”
City attorneys, not county attorneys, are prosecuting the case because the stalking charge is not a felony.
He could face up to a year in prison if convicted.