ST. PETERS, Mo. — A registered sex offender is facing new charges in St. Charles County after police said he followed two sisters he saw at a Walmart.
“It was really scary, and I could not think straight, you know, it was terrifying,” said one of the sisters.
Matthew Foerstel was charged with stalking, harassment and assault in connection with the Wednesday incident.
According to the probable cause statement, the victims — an 18-year-old and a 13-year-old — first noticed Foerstel when they were walking from the store on Mid Rivers Mall Drive in St. Peters to their car. They said he backed his truck down the parking aisle while they walked to their car, then followed close behind them as they left the parking lot.
“We were going out to our car putting the groceries in and as we were leaving we noticed this white truck with tinted windows,” the 18-year-old said.
The 18-year-old said she got suspicious and told her younger sister to call police. After making several unnecessary turns on the way home, she decided to go back to Walmart because she was so worried, the probable cause statement said.
The 911 operator told them to drive to the police station, which they did. While the sisters were inside the police station reporting what was happening, Foerstel pulled onto the lot, the statement said.
“We ran as fast as we could inside and there was an officer waiting for there and we told him what happened and he kept making calls and he told us that they pulled him over,” she said.
He soon drove off the police lot but only went across the street where he could still see the sisters' car. He drove back to the police lot but then returned to his spot across the street.
After the sisters gave police a description of his truck, officers quickly found him and pulled him over. When they ran the truck information, they found Foerstel was a sex offender after he was arrested for recording women in the dressing room of a Target.
Foerstel told the officer he knew it "looked bad," but he followed the girls after he saw them at Walmart because he was bored, the statement said.
The officer said Foerstel was holding his phone, and he asked if Foerstel had any illegal photos on his phone due to the nature of his previous arrest. Foerstel said there was nothing bad on his phone and offered to show the officer.
The officer said while Foerstel was going through his photos, one of them was a video of a nude person in a dressing room or bathroom. The officer said Foerstel quickly hid his phone and appeared to try to delete the video.
The probable cause statement said the officer then took him into custody.
During his interview with police, Foerstel said he wanted to talk to the sisters but was too shy. He said if they had gone to another store, he would have approached them.
The girls' mother says they talked about what to do in situations like this one and encourages other parents to have similar discussions with their children.
She posted this on Facebook, thanking the St. Peters Police Department and her girls for their quick thinking.
“What was he gonna do, I don't know, I'm glad I didn’t find out…. it's an emotional situation, I’m glad I have my girls," she told 5 On Your Side.
He was charged with two counts of first-degree harassment, two counts of stalking and two accounts of fourth-degree assault in connection with the Wednesday afternoon incident.
He is being held on a $300,000, cash-only bond.