September 15, 2017 9:29 pm
Updated: September 15, 2017 9:33 pm

Hamilton woman says she’s been the victim of break-ins, repeated stalking by stranger

WATCH ABOVE: Oxana Pivovarova says every time the man is arrested, he's released within days. Mental health advocates say cases like this highlight the difficulties in finding people the help they need. Mark Carcasole reports.

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A Hamilton-area mother says she’s had a “horrible” couple of weeks at her ground floor apartment.

“I’ve been up the whole entire night, trying to see if he’s around again,” said Oxana Pivovarova.

It started on Sept. 5 when Pivovarova said a homeless man in the area, believed to have mental health and addiction problems, broke into their living room while her mom was home.

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She said the building superintendent managed to chase the man away and he was eventually arrested by Hamilton police on a trespassing charge. But his time in custody don’t last long.

“He was out by Thursday,” said Pivovarova. “They called me saying the guy (was) going to be let out.”

Pivovarova said the man was arrested again four days later after trying to break into her Dundas apartment with a makeshift axe.

Again he was released, but only for police to get other calls reporting him for hanging around the family’s window.

Police haven’t been able catch him again. However, they were in the area conducting an investigation Friday afternoon and Pivovarova said they told her the suspect could face more serious charges if arrested again.

“They’re trying to charge (the man) with criminal harassment and breaching the… bail (conditions),” she said.

Hamilton Police told Global News Friday morning they are still investigating the matter, but added nothing further.

Police don’t have much to do with determining how long someone stays in custody. That’s usually a job for the courts.

Jennifer Chambers, coordinator of the Empowerment Council, an advocacy group for those struggling with mental illness and addiction, said “the system is far from ideal” and that “there are gaps everywhere.”

Chambers said it can be hard for the courts to get people the help they need because if they’re not considered a danger to themselves, they can’t easily be forced into psychiatric care. The decision is mostly a voluntary one.

“There’s that grey area where people are finding what they’re doing is a nuisance but they’re not dangerous, so that can mean they kind of hover on the edge of the system,” she said.

For Pivovarova, she said the solution seems so simple.

“If he is mentally ill, just send him to a clinic or…somewhere,” she said.

But it’s not always that easy.

In the meantime, building management has agreed to let Pivovarova move into a unit on a higher floor at the same rate of rent.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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