Man who terrorized women on dating apps arrested again in St. Louis County for similar crime

Robert Merkle faces new charges out of Town & Country after being accused of serial stalking and harassment.
Published: Feb. 22, 2022 at 5:31 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Robert Merkle, who was charged and convicted of targeting, harassing and stalking women using dating apps and online groups, is back in jail after new allegations in Town and Country.

The 53-year-old man faces a new charge of felony harassment in St. Louis County. According to the charging documents, in text messages Merkle “stated that he had a copy of [the victim’s] key to her residence and that he was going to break in and rape her.”

In a statement, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell said there is a pattern to the allegations and past convictions.

“After a brief dating period, one date, or even a chance encounter where he obtains the victim’s phone number, he sends the victim threatening messages that may include rape fantasies or threats of rape,” Bell said.

Robert Merkle, 53, has been indicted after allegedly messaging women expressing desires for...
Robert Merkle, 53, has been indicted after allegedly messaging women expressing desires for violent sexual fantasies.(St. Louis County)

News 4 first interviewed Angela in November 2017 after she received threats from Merkle containing violent rape fantasies. She was one of several woman who accused Merkle of similar behavior. After working with SLMPD, charges were filed against Merkle.

Merkle pleaded guilty to multiple counts of misdemeanor and felony harassment in both St. Louis City and Jefferson County. Together, all of the cases could have meant up to 12 years in prison, but Judge Rex Burlison ordered the sentences be run concurrently, or all together, meaning he would serve three years behind bars.

Merkle was released from prison in October 2020. He completed his parole in October 2021. The latest charge of harassment happened on January 26, 2022 according to police. The court documents call Merkle a danger to the victim and the community because of his previous convictions.

In a bond hearing for Merkle, St. Louis County Judge Nicole Zellweger set his bond at $75,000, cash-only, no 10%. The judge said non-monetary conditions alone are not sufficient for the safety of the community.

If released, he must wear an electric monitoring device and have no contact with the victim and may not possess any device capable of accessing the internet.