Pitt police arrested a man Tuesday night after issuing a bulletin alerting students of his potential presence in Oakland and citing several female students who said he “made them feel uncomfortable.”
“We would like our community to be aware of a suspicious subject identified as Daniel Dintino,” the bulletin said. “We have received several complaints regarding Dintino’s behavior.”
Dintino, 24, was arrested on a warrant out of Ross Township Sunday for charges of theft. He was also charged with stalking and harassment Monday, according to court documents. He was released after posting the $10,000 bail for the theft incident.
A Pitt police officer, who declined to give her name, said they arrested Dintino again Tuesday night. Reached by phone around 10 p.m., she said Dintino was transferred to Allegheny County jail, but did not respond to questions about what he was charged with.
Before Tuesday’s arrest, Pitt spokesperson Joe Miksch said the University was issuing Dintino a persona non grata letter, essentially barring him from Pitt’s campus.
A Pitt student, who asked to remain anonymous, alleges she was approached twice by someone she believes is Dintino. While eating on Forbes Avenue Sunday, she said he sat at the table next to her and began asking her questions about what she was eating and if she went to Pitt.
“This all happened in a period of about three minutes, I got uncomfortable so I texted a friend and asked her to call me so I could stop talking and leave,” she said.
She said she went to the Pitt police Sunday night and told them about her encounter with Dintino after hearing the stories from the other women in a Facebook group chat. She also said a similar incident happened two days later.
The student said she was doing homework in a restaurant on Forbes Tuesday night when someone began walking toward her. The person stopped in front of her table and she recognized him as the same man from her Sunday encounter.
“He was about two inches away from my face. I thought, ‘Oh my god, that’s him,’” she said. “He was like, ‘Hey,’ and touched my shoulder and told me to take my headphones off. He was like, ‘Do you go to Pitt,’ and I was like, ‘Not again.’”
The man asked her if she went to Pitt and she told him no, she said. He then asked her where she went to school and she told him she did not think she should tell him that.
“I was glaring at him and got my phone out and started looking at it,” she said. “He just started walking quickly out of the room then.”
She called the police as the man walked out the door. She informed her Facebook group that she had seen him again, and a friend came and sat with her until the police arrived.
“Three of them showed up,” she said. “They said someone had called from Dunkin’ Donuts about him and that they were looking for him on Forbes.”
Several other Pitt students shared similar stories with The Pitt News. Katherine Staff, a senior nursing student, alleges a man who she believes to be Dintino followed her Monday when she was walking back to her dorm from a lecture around 4 p.m. She first saw him when crossing Fifth Avenue by University Place.
“He smiled at me like he knew me, which was weird,” Staff said. “The girl he was with kept crossing the street but he started following me.”
Staff said the man followed her back to her dorm and asked for her Snapchat information outside the door.
“I didn’t reply, I just went inside,” she said.
Sarah Hertzler, a junior mechanical engineering major, alleges she was approached by a man she believes to be Dintino on Saturday. She was walking down Forbes Avenue near Starbucks when she said she saw him coming across the street and heading toward her.
“He got in my way and stopped me on the corner. I had two headphones in so I just ignored him, thought he was just somebody I was crossing paths with,” she said. “But then he raised his hand and waved at me to get me to pay attention.”
Hertzler said after she stopped and removed her headphones, the man asked if she was a student at Pitt. When she said yes, he asked if she was Sarah. She claims she had never met him before that moment, and could not find anyone with similar identification on her social media as a friend or mutual friend.
“He told me he thought I was beautiful and wanted me to let him drop his number in my phone,” she said. “I said no and then crossed the street at full speed.”
Hertzler said she told her friends about “the creepy guy” but didn’t think much about the incident again until a friend sent her a series of screenshots of another student’s Snapchat story. The story included a Tinder profile that seemingly belonged to Dintino, and a warning to stay away from him and contact police if approached by him.
“She’d heard me tell my story and she asked me, ‘Is this the guy?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, 100 percent,’” Hertzler said.
Hertzler said she then posted a Snapchat story about her encounter and began receiving messages from other students who had also allegedly been harassed recently.
“Other girls were saying they had different run-ins with him. Some were like mine, but others seemed more aggressive,” Hertzler said. “Everybody was like, ‘Oh it happened to me’ or ‘It happened to a friend of mine,’ it just blew up online.”
Another woman, who asked to remain anonymous, claimed she had an encounter with a man she believes to be Dintino in a coffee shop in Oakland on Saturday. She alleges he approached her while she was there studying.
“I walked through the place to get my coffee and on the way he was standing there, blocking my way,” she said. “So I said, ‘Excuse me, sir,’ and then he turned around and made full eye contact.”
She said after she got her coffee, the man followed her back to her seat at a round table by a window, sat down with her and then began asking her questions, such as if she was a Pitt student and what her name was.
“He then started saying stuff like, ‘I’ve never seen someone so gorgeous’ and asked for my phone number. I said I had a boyfriend,” she said. “He was like, ‘Oh, OK, can we still be friends?’ and I said, ‘I don’t know.’”
She said he wished her a happy holiday and then hugged her before leaving. She thought the encounter had been awkward, but did not become alarmed until 20 minutes later when she looked up and realized he was standing next to her.
“He said, ‘I saw you still in here and wanted to say goodbye,’ and I was like, ‘OK, goodbye’ and then he left and then I immediately left,” she said.
She said she did not report the incident to the police but heard later that other people allegedly had a similar story.
If you have any information about this case, Pitt police requests you call 412-624-2121 as soon as possible.
Ashwini Sivaganesh and John Hamilton contributed reporting.