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St. Louis man indicted on federal charges of sending threats to five women

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ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis man previously convicted of harassing women in Jefferson County and St. Louis was indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday of cyberstalking five women.

Robert Merkle, 53, was indicted on three cyberstalking charges and two counts of transmitting a threat. Each charge is punishable by up to five years in prison, authorities said.

Robert Merkle

Robert Merkle

Merkle lives in the 3400 block of Washington Avenue in St. Louis.

Merkle is accused of harassing or threatening five women online and in text messages. The texts included threats of rape, authorities said.

In a 2018 case from Jefferson County, Merkle was convicted of first-degree harassment, a felony, and sentenced to three years in prison. He also was convicted of misdemeanor harassment in St. Louis and received a one-year sentence in 2018, authorities said.

Merkle is awaiting trial in a similar case in St. Louis County. The county prosecutor charged him in January with harassment in Town and Country after police say he sent a woman threatening text messages, including a threat of rape.

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