News - Sauk Valley

Felony telephone harassment case dropped against Sterling man

Eric Dunaven

MORRISON – There is enough evidence to charge suspected mall burglar Erik W. Dunaven with misdemeanor telephone harassment, but not with felony harassment of a witness, a Whiteside County judge ruled Thursday.

Dunaven cannot be charged with the felony because the woman on whose phone he left the message is not a witness to the burglary charge he is facing, Whiteside County Public Defender Bill McNeal argued successfully.

Dunaven will be arraigned on the new charge Wednesday, Whiteside County Judge Michael Albert said.

Dunaven, 33, of Sterling, has been in the county jail since July 12. He also is charged with one count of burglary; police say he broke into the Urban Outfitters Inc. store July 5.

According to police, he called the woman July 11 and asked her to wire money to him in Rockford. She agreed instead to meet him at a grocery store there, then called police. Dunaven was arrested the next day.

Later that night, he left a message on her voice mail, calling her actions “bogus” and telling her “I’ll get out some day,” police said.

Whiteside County Assistant State’s Attorney Jim Heuerman argued Thursday that although the woman is not a witness in the burglary case, she could be called to testify that Dunaven fled the county when police were looking for him.

McNeal said prosecutors have not presented any evidence or testimony that Dunaven fled, though, and so the woman is not a witness in that case.