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Watcher misses court

A Superior man who has been seen peering in windows on and near the University of Wisconsin-Superior campus numerous times failed to make an appearance Thursday in Douglas County Court.

Jeremy Mains

A Superior man who has been seen peering in windows on and near the University of Wisconsin-Superior campus numerous times failed to make an appearance Thursday in Douglas County Court.

Jeremy Donald Mains, 34, faces one count of disorderly conduct stemming from an Oct. 28 incident along Winter Street. When he failed to appear Thursday, a warrant was issued for his arrest.

According to the criminal complaint: A woman arrived home to see Mains standing on the back porch of her residence, looking through the windows. She asked him if she could help him and he said he was looking for "Jen." She told him "Jen" didn't live there and, when he left, the woman locked all her doors. A half hour later, she heard a loud noise in the kitchen. She saw the kitchen door was open and Mains was standing in her open back doorway on the back porch. He again asked for "Jen." She told him to leave the property, then called the police.

The incident is the latest in a string of watching incidents attributed to Mains, according to Superior Police records. The first occurred a year ago on Lincoln Street. A woman reported that a suspicious person had been loitering in the area looking in windows for about two hours, according to a Superior Police report. The woman who reported the incident said she stared back when she first saw him looking in the window, and he threw up his hands in the air. He hid behind a tree for a while, then walked down the street and back. When the woman's sister went out and asked him if he needed any help, he didn't respond. When questioned by police, Mains admitted to looking into windows of houses, but gave no explanation for his behavior. No charges were filed.

Last month, he walked back and forth in a private back yard along Catlin Avenue, looking in windows and frightening a female resident who lived on the second floor.

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"She said that he was looking up at her," the report stated.

Last month, Mains pleaded no contest to two ordinance violations -- trespass and disorderly conduct - for that incident, according to online court records.

Three days before Halloween, the Winter Street incident occurred.

In addition to the Superior Police reports, campus safety officers are aware of Mains.

"We have over the course of the past year received several complaints of a suspicious person," said Gary Gulbrandson, director of public safety at UWS, and it has turned out to be Mains. But no charges were filed.

"He'll be seen walking on the sidewalk, just walking around the area," Gulbrandson said. On other occasions he's been reported in close proximity to one of the residence halls. According to a Superior Police report, Mains was warned to stay out of the UWS parking lot after they took reports of him looking into dorm windows from the site.

Assistant Police Chief Charles LaGesse said the department has had reports of people looking in windows in the past, but not multiple addresses in such a tight time frame.

The incidents on file with the department show a pattern of escalation on the part of Mains, LaGesse said. He has graduated from standing on the public sidewalk looking in windows to trespassing on private property and, allegedly, opening a door.

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"It's not illegal to go down the street and, if the window is open, look inside the house," LaGesse said, but if you stand and stare into someone's home, it's an invasion of privacy. To do so from private land is trespassing. To cause someone to fear for their safety with such actions can be disorderly conduct.

"We want people to be aware of this sort of threat, from this individual or anyone else," LaGesse said. He encouraged residents to lock their doors, close their drapes at night and report such incidents by calling 911.

"They should call any time they're alarmed by someone's actions," LaGesse said. "Don't wait to see if it gets worse. Just give us a call. Let us check on that."

Related Topics: CRIMEFAMILY
Maria Lockwood covers news in Douglas County, Wisconsin, for the Superior Telegram.
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