Crime

R.I. congressional candidate stalked Ohio couple on the road for 70 miles, police say

The couple told police they are "scared for their life."

Neary For All campaign
Michael Neary, a candidate for Congressional District 2 in Rhode Island, in a Feb. 20, 2022 Instagram post announcing his campaign. Neary For All campaign

A police report uncovered by The Boston Globe Tuesday alleges that Rhode Island Democratic candidate for the Second Congressional District seat Michael Neary stalked an Ohio couple on the road for about 70 miles before being arrested.

Neary, 28, was charged with menacing by stalking, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to court records. He pleaded not guilty, and a pretrial conference is set for April 21.

Miami (Ohio) Sheriff’s Office mug shot of Michael Neary, a Democratic candidate for Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District. – Miami County Ohio Sheriff’s Office

The victims were 65-year-old Harold Poland and 62-year-old Candy Poland, who say they’ve never met Neary before. They told police they were “scared for their life” by the experience.

“It should be noted, Candy was petrified,” the police report says, “stating Harold would need to explain what happened because she could not talk.”

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The Globe reported that Neary, who entered the congressional race in February, has not returned a request for comment, and that his campaign treasurer had no comment. He still lives in Ohio, but has said he plans to move back to his hometown of Coventry, Rhode Island, soon.

According to the report, the Polands told police they had just come back from visiting their son in Florida the night of March 22, and were leaving the Columbus airport to drive home when a silver car started driving behind them as they got on the highway.

At first, the report says, the couple didn’t think anything of it, but they soon noticed that the car was staying right behind them even as they passed other cars on the highway.

Eventually, the report says, the silver car started flashing its lights, so Harold, who was driving the car, slowed down to let it pass. Instead, the car stayed right behind them.

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The report says Harold then tried to speed up to get away from the silver car, but it stayed right behind them. Harold got off at two different exits, and the silver car followed. He even pulled off the road, and the silver car pulled over to where they were.

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The report says Harold then took off. The silver car followed, and this time, it drove next to them in the direction of oncoming traffic. Harold rolled down the window to yell at the driver, but said the driver’s music was so loud that he couldn’t hear.

Finally, at 2:34 a.m., March 23, the Polands called the police. They were told to go to the Troy Police Department. Meanwhile, deputies pulled over the silver car, which they say in the report was following the Polands’ car very closely.

The report says Neary’s eyes were bloodshot when police pulled him over. It says he was jittery, talkative, nervous, and couldn’t stand still.

The report says he told police he had just returned from Rhode Island and was very stressed. He said he had taken a drive to clear his head.

The deputies said Neary agreed to let them search his car. They said they found clear plastic bags of marijuana, a ceramic pipe, and a grinder on the front passenger seat. The deputies said they also found a half-empty bottle of whiskey in the back seat.

The report says police then conducted several field sobriety tests on Neary, and he failed all of them.

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It is unclear why Neary allegedly followed the Polands for 70 miles on the road, or whether Neary is still running for office in Rhode Island.

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