Tucker Frey, who has been reported to harass women on Franklin Street, was arrested Monday and charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor for trespassing. At the time of publication, Frey is still in custody at the Orange County Jail, according to custody reports released by the Orange County Sheriff's Office.
Frey has a criminal history of attempted kidnapping and assault. Chapel Hill has received 46 reports regarding Frey’s behavior since August 2020, and seven emails in the past week alone, Attorney Maren Hardin said during Frey's first appearance in court on Tuesday.
“Mr. Frey is at best a nuisance to the Chapel Hill downtown community and at worst a danger,” Hardin said during the session.
Numerous accounts of harassment appeared on a recent post in the Facebook discussion group Bagels Who Discuss urging members to be cautious of Frey and giving advice about how to recognize him.
According to accounts from members of the group and on Twitter, Frey’s blonde hair, height, backpack and frequent shirtless-ness make him easy to recognize. He is also known to ask people to buy him food or ask for their Snapchat accounts.
Taylor, a senior at UNC who asked to refrain from using her last name for security reasons, said she was walking with her boyfriend and some other friends when Frey approached them to ask for money. When they declined, he followed them for a few blocks making obscene comments.
Taylor said while she has experienced street harassment on Franklin Street before, she was surprised by Frey’s boldness — especially with her boyfriend there.
“The difference is that he's so relentless,” Taylor said. “I have never, ever, experienced anything like that in my life before.”
While many reports are similar to Taylor’s, some have had a more aggressive experience with Frey. Britta Bowers, a UNC graduate and emergency medical services provider, said Frey broke into the EMS station where she and her all-female crew were working. Bowers said they were forced to lock themselves in the bathroom until police arrived.
Some incidents are never reported to the police department. Ran Northam, interim communications manager for the CHPD, said the police department is asking anyone who has had encounters to report them so they can determine if any crime has occurred.
The Chapel Hill Crisis Unit can also respond to situations of harassment by providing emergency mental health services and connecting involved parties with long-term support. The Crisis Unit assists the CHPD in many situations including those involving harassment, homelessness and mental health.
A concern about Frey’s mental health is evident in the State’s request for a psychological evaluation, District Court Judge Christopher Roper said at the Wednesday court appearance. The evaluation will likely take place through the Criminal Resource Court, where Frey can attend online. His attorney Crista Collazo said that access to a computer may be difficult considering his homelessness.
The State also requested an increase in Frey’s bond to $2,500 and trespassed (to be banned officially under penalty of arrest) him from all businesses on Franklin Street, to be reconsidered at his next court date on April 20.
Many Franklin Street businesses had already banned or officially trespassed Frey from their premises prior to his first appearance. Christine Schwarz, an employee at Epilogue, said Frey was trespassed from Epilogue last fall after he incited yelling and violence.
“Our goal is to be a safe space for all patrons,” Schwarz said. “We are concerned for their safety when they leave the store, but as long as they're in the store they’re safe.”
Frey’s investigation is ongoing. The maximum penalty for first degree trespass, a Class 2 misdemeanor, is 60 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
If you experience harassment, you can report it to the police by calling 911 or 919-968-2760, or to the Crisis Unit at 919-968-2806.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the incarceration status of Tucker Frey. The article has been updated to include the most recent information about Frey's custody status. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for this error.
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