Husband puts tracker on wife’s car, steals her dogs, sets their home ablaze, feds say

A man is accused of relentlessly harassing his estranged wife after she moved out, including by tracking her and setting fire to their shared Oregon home twice, according to court documents.

From Oct. 7, 2020 through Dec. 24, 2020, Joel Waters, 44, of Wallowa, Oregon, traveled to Boise, Idaho where his then-wife had moved into her parents’ home following an argument between the couple, which resulted in her wanting a divorce, federal prosecutors and court documents say.

In Boise, Waters stalked and intimidated his wife, stole her dog from her parents’ home, slashed her and her parent’s tires — one day after she served him with divorce papers — and put a tracking device on the car she drove, according to a plea agreement and memorandum filed in court.

The woman learned of the tracking device after Waters stole both her dogs from the vehicle while it was parked outside a Boise Home Depot with the windows slightly down on Dec. 15, 2020, the memorandum in support of Waters’ pretrial detainment says.

A mechanic discovered the device hidden near a passenger side tire, according to the memorandum.

During the nearly three months Waters is accused of stalking the woman, he also set her car on fire — in addition to setting their Oregon home ablaze on two separate occasions — and sent her a series of harassing emails, prosecutors said.

On Aug. 25, Waters pleaded guilty to interstate stalking, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Idaho announced in a news release.

Mike French, an attorney representing Waters, declined a request for comment from McClatchy News on Aug. 28.

In stalking his wife, Waters is accused of violating a civil protection order his wife obtained against him in Oregon, prosecutors said.

Two days before the Boise Police Department arrested Waters on a felony count of stalking on Dec. 24, 2020, his and his wife’s divorce was finalized, according to the memorandum.

He was held on a $1,000,000 bond and remained in state custody until he appeared in federal court, where he was charged with interstate stalking in April 2021, the memorandum says.

Waters faces up to five years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine at his sentencing hearing scheduled for Nov. 8, according to prosecutors.

Wallowa is about 215 miles northwest of Boise.

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