A 63-year-old Bethlehem man charged with stalking a waitress at several local bars had an elaborate fantasy life with his dream woman the details of which he has shared with patrons, her fellow employees and her bosses, according to city police.
According to the tales spun by Thomas J. “Tommy” Coyle – as described in a police affidavit – he and Rachel Baxter are in love, plan to get matching tattoos, plan to wed and have children.
At the same time, police said, Coyle has told patrons at Sotto Santi, J.P. MacGrady’s and the Your Welcome Inn, that Baxter has a boyfriend who beats her and has threatened to beat him and that she has asked him to “rescue her” from the abusive relationship.
All of these stories are lies, according to the Bethlehem Police Department, which today took Coyle into custody and locked him up in Northampton County Prison under $25,000 bail. He was arraigned before District Judge Nancy Matos-Gonzalez on a misdemeanor stalking charge and two summary harassment charges.
According to the arrest warrant, the harassment began in April after Coyle met Baxter working at Sotto Santi. Coyle, who had been a regular patron at the pizzeria and bar on W. Fourth Street before Baxter started working there, was apparently enthralled.
According to the affidavit:
- Coyle began to look for Baxter every time he came to Sotto Santi. He would bring her assorted gifts and ask her to come visit him at his apartment. Coyle would ask Baxter where she lives, but she would not tell him.
- Coyle then started chatting up Baxter’s co-workers to glean more information about Baxter, ultimately finding out where she lives. He commented to her about tomato garden, which can only be seen from inside her garden, not just by walking by.
- Coyle also found out what kind of car Baxter drives and that she also works at J.P. MacGrady’s. He began to randomly show up at MacGrady’s as well.
- Baxter told Coyle to leave her alone and supervisors at both bars told him to stay away while Baxter was working.
- Unable to see her, Coyle began leaving notes and letters for Baxter at the bars. On one occasion, he left a newspaper clipping about Hugh Heffner’s marriage to the significantly younger Crystal Harris – only Coyle altered the story, crossing out Heffner’s name and replacing it with “Tom” and crossing out Harris’s name and replacing it with “Rachel.”
- The affidavit also details numerous lies that Coyle has told to other bar patrons and Baxter’s colleagues at the three bars where she works, including allegations that her boyfriend beats her and that she once had an abortion and turned to him for support – all the while insisting that he and Baxter were in love.