Taylor Swift has been the victim of several alleged stalkers throughout her career, including the latest in April. Hanks Johnson, 52, allegedly tried to enter Swift's New York City home on April 17 and was charged with criminal trespassing. In September 2020, Eric Swarbrick of Austin, Texas was sentenced to 30 months in prison after repeatedly sending threatening letters to Swift's old record label in Nashville. Thankfully, Swift, 31, has not been home in most cases when alleged stalkers arrive at her home.
Although Swift likely does not want to revisit stalking cases, she has often talked about it as one of the prices she pays for fame. In a March 2020 essay for Elle, she wrote that being aware of her safety is more important than she thought. "You get enough stalkers trying to break into your house and you kind of start prepping for bad things," she wrote. "Every day I try to remind myself of the good in the world, the love I’ve witnessed, and the faith I have in humanity. We have to live bravely in order to truly feel alive, and that means not being ruled by our greatest fears."
In 2012, Swift told Cosmopolitan U.K. she was "nervous" about stalker incidents and was "so grateful" to have a security team looking after her. "Over the past couple of years, it's got worse... I get told if there's been an attempt or a threat," she said at the time. "My security text me a picture and say, 'Look out for this dude; he's driven across the country, he's off his meds,' or something like that. No one has ever been successful in getting into my house or anything like that. I have an amazing security team." Scroll on for a look at 12 scary cases of alleged stalkers who went after Swift.
New York City Police arrested Hanks Johnson, 52, outside Swift's Tribeca apartment building on the evening of April 17, police told the New York Daily News. A witness allegedly saw him try to enter the building. Johnson allegedly showed up at Swift's apartment building to ring her doorbell at least five times in the past six months, the building's security head told police, according to the criminal complaint. After Johnson's arraignment the day after his arrest, he told reporters he was friends with Swift and claimed he communicated with her on Instagram.prevnext
In 2019, Eric Swarbrick of Austin, Texas agreed to plead guilty to charges of stalking and sending threatening letters to Swift and her former record label, Big Machine. In September 2020, a federal judge finally sentenced him to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release. According to the criminal complaint, Swarbrick sent letters to Big Machine in 2018, asking them to introduce him to Swift. The letters allegedly became more threatening over time. He also drove to Nashville on three occasions to personally drop off the letters, reports the Associated Press.prevnext
In April 2018, 38-year-old Julius Sandrock was arrested outside Swift's Beverly Hills home. Police said he was wearing a mask and had a knife in his car. He reportedly told police he drove all the way from Broomfield, Colorado to visit Swift. Sandrock said he was on probation in Colorado for firing one of his three handguns. In May 2018, Swift got a restraining order against Sandrock.prevnext
In March 2017, Mohammed Jaffar was arrested for stalking and burglary after he showed up at Swift's New York home five times in two months. In September 2017, Jaffar was found unfit to stand trial. In May 2018, he was sentenced to six months in jail and five years probation, during which he will be treated at a mental health facility in Michigan, reports E! News.prevnext
Unnamed New Hampshire Man Swift Was Warned About
In January 2018, New Hampshire police warned Swift about an unnamed man who was claiming to be Swift's boyfriend. According to TMZ, police interviewed him on an unrelated case when he said he needed a gun to protect Swift during a trip to Africa with the singer. The man also showed police text messages from someone he claimed was Swift. The man was not arrested because he had not committed a crime yet.prevnext
In April 2018, New York law enforcement sources told TMZ that Roger Alvarado allegedly broke a window to get inside Swift's New York City home, where he took a nap. A witness saw him and called the police. Swift was not at the home. Alvarado was previously arrested at the home in February after he allegedly broke the front door using a shovel. In a March 2019 interview with The Sun from jail, Alvarado said he would try to break into Swift's home again and had no regrets.prevnext
Also in April 2018, Justin Christoph Lilly, a homeless man, allegedly tried to break into Swift's Beverly Hills property. He was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor count of trespassing and refusing to leave private property. If convicted, Lilly could have been sentenced to six months in jail.prevnext
Frank Andrew Hoover
In 2016, Frank Andrew Hoover was arrested after he showed up to a Swift concert and followed her entourage to the Austin, Texas airport. At the time, Swift already had a protective order against him because he previously sent disturbing messages to her father, Scott Swift. In early 2018, he allegedly sent more emails to Swift's family, referring to them as an "evil family of devils" in one message. On April 2, 2018, he pleaded guilty to violating the protection order and was sentenced to 10 years of probation.prevnext
Bruce Rowley was arrested in Ansonia, Connecticut after he confessed to robbing a bank in April 2018. According to a police report obtained by TMZ, Rowley then drove to Swift's home and threw some of the money over her fence hoping he could win her over. Rowley told police several times he had a crush on Swift. He said he tried to get in contact with Swift, but she was not home. He drove to Swift's Rhode Island home. Rhode Island police found him and chased him back to Connecticut.prevnext
Lucas Vorsteveld was arrested outside Swift's New York home in May 2016. He claimed to be an "aspiring singer" who needs Swift "to help his career," a source told the New York Daily News at the time. Sources said he stopped taking his medication to treat schizophrenia. Vorsteveld was also arrested in May 2013 for trespassing when he was seen walking on the private road to Swift's Rhode Island mansion.prevnext
In March 2014, Swift got a restraining order against Timothy Sweet, a man she said had been bothering her since January 2011. According to TMZ, the documents said Sweet sent Swift emails, letters and social media messages in which he said he loved her. In one message, Sweet allegedly claimed Swift will marry her and he will "carry a gun to protect her the rest of my life."prevnext
In December 2012, Jacob Kulke was arrested outside Swift's Nashville home, allegedly carrying a knife. However, just weeks later, his attorney told E! News at the time that prosecutors decided against pressing charges and the case was dropped. His attorney said Swift did not have any "No Trespassing" signs outside her home at the time, and one of Swift's guards allegedly told him he could go to the house. Swift's team "did not see him as a threat" and agreed not to pursue the case.prev