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MAN BROUGHT BURGLARY TOOLS TO BREAK INTO EX-WIFE'S HOUSE, ATTORNEY SAYS

Accused stalker George Popson Jr. brought wire cutters, a glass cutter, 24 feet of rope and other burglary tools with him when he came here from Texas last month to allegedly harass his ex-wife, a federal prosecutor said Friday.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathleen M. Mehltretter said the items were found in a West Seneca motel room rented by Popson, a former U.S. Border Patrol agent.

The prosecutor told U.S. Magistrate Carol E. Heckman about the items in an effort to keep Popson from being released on bail. He has been held since Sept. 24, when he was arrested in the driveway of his ex-wife's West Seneca home.

"From the fact that he brought these items with him, we believe it can be inferred that he planned to go back and break into her home at a later time," Ms. Mehltretter said. "Why else does anyone carry wire cutters and glass cutters?"

Popson, 35, of El Paso, Texas, is the first person in Western New York to be charged with violating a federal law designed to protect abused spouses. A federal grand jury returned a five-count indictment Thursday.

Despite a court order of protection barring him from having any contact with his former wife, police said he showed up at her home Sept. 24. West Seneca police arrested him there.

Binoculars and a loaded, unregistered gun were found in his rental car parked nearby, police said.

"After his arrest, agents searched a gym bag that he had left in his motel room," Ms. Mehltretter said. "The glass cutters and other burglary tools were found in there. The items also included 13 rounds of ammunition, a package of 'stay-awake pills' and a knife similar to a Swiss Army knife."

Popson has repeatedly violated orders of protection obtained by his ex-wife, the prosecutor said. Last April, she added, he showed up at her home illegally and threatened to make her watch while he killed her entire family.

Popson's attorney, John F. Humann of the federal public defender's office, declined to discuss the allegations. Humann said the detention hearing will resume Wednesday before Judge Heckman.

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