Undercover investigation leads to arrest of man accused of vandalism, terrifying massage therapists

Robert J. Gross

After several women reported a disturbing pattern of vandalism and stalking, federal investigators started an undercover investigation into a man suspected of destroying property and terrifying massage therapists.

Victims say Robert J. Gross took off all his clothing and refused to leave a massage therapy business until one of the women flagged down a stranger for help.

Victims say the harassment began when the suspect became angry that an employee refused to provide him sexual services.

On that same day, someone started keying employees' cars and it eventually escalated to destroying tires and smashing windows. Employees at several massage therapy locations in Olathe and Lawrence discovered screws jammed into their tires.After several women reported a disturbing pattern of vandalism and stalking, officers started an undercover investigating into a man suspected of destroying property and terrifying massage therapists. Update on @KCTV5 10pm pic.twitter.com/A4dvLuWl5v— Emily Rittman KCTV5 (@EmilyRittman) January 19, 2018They suspected Gross was responsible for the property damage due to his previous bizarre behavior.

After being turned away from two locations in Olathe, investigators say Gross drove to a massage therapy business in Lawrence and took off all of his clothes.

Once there, court records say a security camera captured Gross saying, "You ain't going no place" to an employee who refused to provide sexual services.

They say he paced around naked, then caressed an employees face as she pulled away.

Investigators add that while naked, Gross got behind an employee and wrapped his arms around her, pressing against her.

One employee, concerned that Gross followed her home from work, took photos of the suspect driving in her neighborhood. The license plate of the vehicle is registered to Gross, according to court documents.

Undercover officers began surveillance on Gross after viewing the surveillance video and hearing from victims.

Those investigators followed him to a surplus store, where he purchased 10 pairs of handcuffs, three ski masks, two security T-shirts and asked about buying a bullet-proof vest.

Undercover officers also say Gross met a man to buy two shotguns at a parking lot of a Lowe's in Liberty.

Court records state once that purchase was made, investigators arrested him for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Retired FBI agent Michael Tabman says the officers moved in at the right moment.

“He has already shown himself to be capable of assaulting somebody," Tabman said. "Engaging in some strange behavior that could lead to more serious crimes. If we take him off the street legally, we may have averted a more violent crime.”

According to federal investigators, Gross has a history of deviant sexual and violent behavior against women going back to 1975.

He was convicted of making terrorist threats to a former girlfriend.

He is also current charged in Douglas County with felony aggravated sexual battery.

Gross is scheduled to face a federal judge next week to face charges for interstate stalking, felon in possession of a firearm and receiving a firearm while under indictment.

Copyright 2018 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.



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