Charges: Man stalked former Hard Times Cafe waitress for decades

- A Minneapolis man is facing charges for allegedly stalking a Twin Cities woman for decades, beginning in the 1980s when she was a waitress at the Hard Times Café. He contacted her again last Thursday for the first time in 24 years. 

According to the charges, William Douglas, 55, was one of the victim's regular customers when she was working at the Hard Times Café in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood in the mid to late 1980s. 

Douglas reportedly went to the victim’s parents’ house and told them their daughter “came from good stock and that people came from miles away for her to pour their coffee.”

Douglas went back to the victim’s parents’ house several times and put letters and other random items inside their mailbox. He would also call the house, and one time reportedly asked her parents, “Is your daughter’s blood pumping?”

The victim was a student at the University of Minnesota at the time. She told police Douglas would sometimes show up outside her classes on campus.

Douglas was committed to the St. Peter State Hospital after he stabbed one of her coworkers in front of the restaurant in 1990. The victim told police Douglas “meant to stab me that day.”

He was released from the hospital in 2015 on a provisional discharge, according to his case worker. 

Last Thursday, Oct. 20, Douglas contacted the victim for the first time since 1992. The victim received a package in the mail from him at her home in Edina, Minnesota, although she told police Douglas should not have known her current address.

Inside the package was a typed letter addressed to the victim, a pre-paid envelope requesting return service and a seashell. In the letter, Douglas asked the victim whether she would be willing to “reconnect” with him.

The letter also included many references to the victim’s current life, including a statement that read, “your style back then was as wordless as an autistic child,” which the victim believes is a reference to her 10-year-old son who has autism.

After receiving the package, the victim contacted police and said she believed Douglas was stalking her and knew of her son and his condition.  

Police located and arrested Douglas at a facility for mentally ill residents. Douglas admitted to sending the package to the victim. He told officers he knew it was wrong, but thought enough time had passed that the victim would want to hear from him.

Douglas said he also sent a letter to the Hard Times Café employee he stabbed in 1990.

Douglas is being charged with one count of stalking.

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