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Man Accused of Stalking Drew Barrymore Is Arrested

Mon, 08/28/2023 - 10:49
Chad Michael Busto
Southampton Town Police Department

A man who attempted to gain access last week to the stage at an Upper East Side event where the actress Drew Barrymore was being interviewed has been arrested by Southampton Town police on a misdemeanor charge of stalking.

Chad Michael Busto of Washington, D.C., 43, who reportedly has a prior criminal record in California, Georgia, and Texas, was released on his own recognizance Friday after his arraignment in Southampton Justice Court before Justice Gary J. Weber.

In a release issued overnight Friday, the Southampton Police Department said its detectives got an assist from police in East Hampton Town, who located Mr. Busto in their jurisdiction last Thursday afternoon and notified their counterparts to the west.

Southampton Town detectives had detained and questioned the man in Sagaponack Village the day before. "It was reported at the time that Busto was riding a bicycle up into private driveways and stating to area residents that he was looking for Drew Barrymore's residence," the statement said. He was released after that interview, and appeared to have left the area, but a continued investigation led to "facts that substantiated a charge for stalking." Southampton police then distributed a "wanted" flyer to neighboring law-enforcement agencies.

Southampton detectives arrested Mr. Busto seconds before midnight last Thursday.

News outlets widely reported that Mr. Busto had attempted to rush the stage on Aug. 21 while Ms. Barrymore was being interviewed by the singer Renée Rapp at the 92nd Street Y. According to the publication Deadline, the intruder shouted, "You know who I am. I need to see you at some point while you're in New York." Security guards quickly blocked him from accessing the stage.

Fourth-degree stalking carries a penalty of 90 days in jail. New York State penal law defines the offense as "a course of conduct" — such as appearing in person, telephoning, following, or engaging in other types of contact — that targets a specific person. Stalking is charged when the actions are "likely to cause reasonable fear of material harm to the physical health, safety, or property" of that person and are "likely to cause such person to reasonably fear that his or her employment, business, or career is threatened."

As of Monday morning, Ms. Barrymore had not commented publicly on the incident.

Mr. Busto is due back in Southampton Justice Court on Sept. 12 at 9 a.m. A court clerk said Monday that he does not yet have an attorney.

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