A New York man was arrested Thursday for violating two orders of protection related to stalking Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn and a Brooklyn bar owner. According to the New York Daily News, Benjamin Campbell, a 35-year-old computer programmer, surrendered at the 94th Precinct and was charged with criminal contempt.
According to police sources, the restraining orders came down in August 2017 after Campbell was accused of stalking Finn and Francis Bevan, the part-owner of Lake Street Bar in Greenpoint, via Instagram. At first, Campbell became known to the band as an enthusiastic fan; he paid $125 for handwritten lyrics to one of Finn’s solo songs, to which Finn added a personalized note. But court papers explain that over a period of two months, Campbell sent Finn hundreds of messages, as many as 30 a day. He also vandalized the Lake Street Bar bathroom with glitter bombs, causing Bevan to ban him from the bar.
A friend of Finn’s alleged to the Daily News that Campbell had compared Finn to Jesus Christ and was obsessed with starting a band of his own: “He said The Hold Steady were a religion, Craig Finn was Jesus and a lot of bands that followed them around were all apostles, and if he started a band that band would be next apostles.” Campbell also allegedly threatened to show up at Finn’s next concert and slit his throat, in addition to allegedly threatening to kill Bevan. He pled guilty to aggravated harassment and disorderly conduct and was ordered to attend a mental health program, which he did not complete.
Campbell, a native of Ottawa, violated the restraining order by posting threats on social media, spraying graffiti on Finn’s building, and leaving a package outside with books and song lyrics. He has also refused to stay away from Bevan’s bar. Finn has reportedly moved twice to avoid Campbell, and the Hold Steady have been alerting promoters and checking ticket manifests.
Campbell’s lawyer says his client is bipolar and suffers from depression and suicidal urges. This past May he was arrested in Texas for attempting to burn down a Best Western.
According to a representative for Finn, he is legally unable to comment at this time.