37-year-old Meridian man arrested for stalking and grabbing woman at grocery store

James Paul Burns is charged with misdemeanor counts of second-degree stalking and battery in connection with an incident Saturday where he followed a woman he did not know through the Eagle WinCo store and then grabbed  her as she tried to leave the store.

The woman walked away from the 37-year-old Burns as soon as she could break free and went to a nearby store. Eagle police arrived a short time later but Burns was gone.

Detectives identified Burns as a suspect after reviewing surveillance video from the store and consulting with other law enforcement agencies.

That led detectives to search Burns’ home in the Fairview Avenue/Locust Grove Road neighborhood in Meridian on Thursday morning, where they found the same baseball cap and t-shirt he was wearing in the store Saturday night.

Deputies arrested Burns twice on Thursday.

The first time, it was for misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia after deputies found pot and smoking pipes inside Burns’ home while they were serving a warrant looking for evidence in connection with Saturday’s stalking incident. Burns is charged with resisting arrest because he tried to hide behind a door when deputies showed up to serve the warrant.

Deputies arrested Burns and took him to jail around 8 a.m. Thursday. Burns posted bond on the drug charges and was out of the jail shortly after noon.

A short time later, Ada County prosecutors issued an arrest warrant on the stalking and battery charges. Detectives found and arrested Burns a short time later after he went to the Winco on Fairview Avenue and talked a stranger into giving him a ride home.

Surveillance video from the Eagle Winco on Saturday shows Burns following the woman all through the store – stopping and staring at her numerous times as she tries to shop.

When the woman was done and leaving the store, Burns walked up to her, told her she looked like she needed a hug, and then grabbed her without her permission.

The woman told detective she had never seen or encountered Burns before she went shopping that day and tried to get away from him as soon as she could.

The crimes of second-degree stalking and resisting arrest are punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The misdemeanor counts of marijuana and paraphernalia possession are punishable by up to six months in prison.

Anyone with information on Burns should call Eagle Police detectives at 577-3744.

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