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Neighbors react to woman accussed of harassing Tony Stewart

Posted at 10:13 PM, Nov 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-22 22:17:57-05

People living in one Southwest Cape Coral neighborhood are shocked to learn the bizarre behavior their neighbor is accused of. Investigators say Mary Kathleen Russell stalked, and harassed NASCAR icon Tony Stewart and his family, who are in the Indianapolis area.

Cape Coral Police were told by authorities in Indianapolis that Russell, 68, was living within the city of Cape Coral and had a warrant out for her arrest on charges of stalking, intimidation, and terroristic mischief. 

Authorities in Indianapolis, where Tony Stewart lives, say it all started when Stewart didn't sign a piece of memorabilia for Russell at a racing event. Investigators say Russell spent the next six months making threatening phone calls -- 333 of them since March of 2016 -- to Stewart, his family, his company, and his sponsors.

"Kind of a far way to go for an autograph, but OK?" Tina Chism, Russell's neighbor, said.

The situation with Russell escalated in September when police say she sent an envelope with a white powdery substance to the law firm representing Stewart. The anthrax scare led to an evacuation of the entire building. Officials determined it was baking soda.

"She's got a little bit of history here, but I didn't really expect anything like that," Sandra Brickey, Russell's neighbor, said.

Neighbors said they saw police arresting Russell on Tuesday.

"We were walking the dog. They came to her door and they were knocking and knocking and knocking. And the further away we got, the louder we could hear them banging on the door," Chism said.

Fox 4 stopped by Russell's home, but the man who was there declined to comment.

Tony Stewart's spokesperson also declined to comment, saying they're letting the legal process run it's course.