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City man charged with stalking teen

Inmate accused of sending letters, paintings to girl

An Altoona man serving a state prison sentence for arson is now charged with stalking.

Erick J. Karlson, 45, is charged with misdemeanor stalking and harassment after Altoona police contend he repeatedly mailed the family of his former landlord letters, drawings and two paintings, with many of the letters addressed to their 17-year-old daughter, over the span of two years.

Police said Karlson sent drawings of pyramids, atoms, DNA strands and other symbols that meant nothing to the family, according to the charges.

Karlson had been a tenant when he was arrested in 2017 for a Philipsburg arson. In 2018, he was found guilty in Centre County and is serving a 30-month to 60-month sentence at the State Correctional Institution at Benner in Bellefonte.

Police noted the family informed the prison of the issue in July 2018 and there was a cease communication order put in place to keep Karlson from sending mail to the family.

On Sept. 23, 2019, the family received a canvas painting that was mailed to them from Karlson’s brother. Another was sent on March 23 of this year, and police said the return address for Karlson’s brother was actually taped over Karlson’s original return address at the prison.

Karlson was charged this week by summons and he is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on May 27 before Magisterial District Judge Daniel DeAntonio.

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