An Orange County man faces a federal stalking charge after he was accused of harassing a professional World of Warcraft gamer online for several years, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
Evan Baltierra, 29, of Trabuco Canyon met the gamer, who uses the online handle “Nalipls,” in November 2019 during a meet-and-greet with her fans at an annual gaming convention known as BlizzCon in Anaheim, authorities said in the news statement.
Months later, Baltierra allegedly asked Nalipls to be his valentine. She “politely” declined and told him she had a boyfriend, at which point Baltierra said that he wanted to visit her in Canada where she resides. The gamer turned down that offer as well, authorities said.
In June 2020, Nalipls learned from an online friend that Baltierra was trying to find out where she lived, according to the news release. She then removed Baltierra as a moderator of her stream channel and blocked him from her social media accounts.
But Baltierra continued contacting Nalipls, sending her emails and direct messages on Twitter, Instagram, Twitch, Discord, and Reddit. He allegedly contacted her boyfriend and her colleague via the same online platforms. He often threatened her with violence, according to the affidavit.
Baltierra also created fake online profiles and fabricated photographs of Nalipls, including ones in which he photoshopped her face onto pornographic images. He’s accused of sending the photoshopped images to Nalipls’ friends and family, and regularly posting the images on various internet chat rooms, the affidavit alleges.
Nalipls created a GoFundMe to raise money to take legal action against Baltierra. In the campaign she said, “I feel very awkward asking for money but I really need help with this situation.” She said that Baltierra had been harassing her almost every day.
She raised nearly $4,500 and obtained a temporary restraining order against Baltierra in February 2021. But he continued to stalk her, authorities said.
In March 2022, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Baltierra’s home and seized several items, including a thumb drive that contained various photoshopped nude images with his alleged victim’s face on them. Authorities also found evidence on Baltierra’s phone of email accounts he used to send Nalipls harassing messages, the affidavit states.
Baltierra was arrested on Monday and was charged with one count of stalking. He appeared in court on Tuesday in Santa Ana and was released on a $15,000 bond, according to Ciaran McEvoy, spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. His next court date is scheduled for June 27.
If convicted, Baltierra could face a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.
When Nalipls retweeted a post from the attorney’s office stating that her alleged stalker had been arrested, it was met with support and words of encouragement from her fans.
One follower tweeted, “Wow I’ve been following this for what seems like so long which shows how long you’ve had to deal with this for. Such a great update, hopefully receives proper justice at court.”
“It took way too long to catch this guy, but I am so glad that they finally did,” another person wrote. “I hope you’re able to feel safe now and know that so many people were behind you on this the entire time. We love you, Nali.”
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