|A brochure from the Heart Foundation|
like the one Mr Hoarse found in
his letter box ...
ADELAIDE AUSTRALIA--A female employee at a local bank was cleared of stalking charges this week, after a complaint from one of the bank's regular customers was ruled to be a misunderstanding. Ms Bree Tanner, 25, an employee at the Rich Bastards Bank, was accused of stalking by a Mr Henry Hoarse, 57. "I don't quite know how it happened," Ms Tanner told our reporters. "In fact, I barely know the man and I have never even spoken to him outside of my workplace."
The misunderstanding began, after one day when Ms Tanner served Mr Hoarse at the bank. "As part of my duties, I am instructed to offer every customer a friendly verbal greeting, so that they may feel welcome at the bank," Ms Tanner explains. "It seems that Mr Hoarse took my greeting of, 'Good morning,' a little bit too literally and thought that I was genuinely excited by the prospect of speaking to him and wanted to engage in some kind of relationship outside of working hours." The misunderstanding was further fuelled by the fact that the Rich Bastard Bank has a policy of regularly updating their customer databases and on that morning, Ms Tanner was prompted by her computer system to ask if Mr Hoarse was still residing at the same address. "At that point, Mr Hoarse began to get a little anxious," Ms Tanner reflects. "I didn't think anything of it though; sometimes customers just don't like to give out their details or prefer to have something in writing from the bank before they do so. It never occurred to me that Mr Hoarse might think that I was asking for his address for personal reasons."
The misunderstanding was further complicated several weeks later when Ms Tanner moved to a new residence. "I was in the middle of a messy divorce," Ms Tanner explains. "The house had just been sold and I was looking for somewhere new to live. Anyway, I found this great flat that was just a couple of streets away from my work. I didn't realise that Mr Hoarse lived just around the corner, or that he would think that I had moved to the neighbourhood just to be closer to him. I saw him around a couple of times, yeah, in the supermarket and at the local take-away place, but I didn't really think anything of it. I mean, when you work with the public and live in the same area, you're bound to see some of your regular customers around the place from time to time."
The whole misunderstanding finally came to a head when Ms Tanner's vehicle broke down in the same street where Mr Hoarse lived. "I was on my way back from the pizza shop when the engine kicked out." Ms Tanner shrugged. "I rang the RAA and they asked me to wait in the car, so I did. Anyway, they were there in about ten minutes, which is pretty good service, I think. But Mr Hoarse seemed to think that I was sitting in my car watching him from down the street and he called the police." This, Ms Tanner adds, was despite the fact that her car was parked on the opposite side of the street, pointing in the other direction and parked at least one hundred and fifty metres away from Mr Hoarse's home. Mr Hoarse later admitted that he had only been able to see the car, and its driver, from the third floor balcony of his townhouse and even then, a pair of binoculars had to be used in order for him to confirm the identity of the driver. He also admitted that he lives on a busy road which acts as the main thoroughfare to the local shopping centre, where Tasty Pizzas is located.
The police investigation was quick to dismiss any charges against Ms Tanner. "The cops were pretty good, all things considered," Ms Tanner said. "They took the time to explain to Mr Hoarse what behaviour constitutes as stalking and what doesn't. They also took his binoculars away, after he admitted that he had been using them to watch the women who live in the house next door to him, which I am glad about. No one deserves to be watched like that."
When questioned by one of our reporters, Mr Hoarse was a little embarrassed, though unapologetic, about his behaviour. "Sometimes it's very hard to tell," he says, as he runs his chubby fingers through his thinning hair. "A man with my natural good looks and good standing in the community does have an awful lot of admirers. Just this morning, I had someone deliver a Valentine's day card in my letter box." Mr Hoarse then held up the Valentine's day card for our reporters to see and appeared to be quite embarrassed when informed that the card was not a Valentines Day card, but, in fact, a brochure from the Heart Foundation ...