Crazed Costume Shop Owner Pwns Local News Guy Investigating Cyberstalking Charges

This is quite possibly the best piece of internet video of all time, or at least this week. Police in a Rhode Island town filed charges against 59-year old costume shop owner Ann Bruno for allegedly "cyberstalking" a competitor. A reporter with the local NBC News affiliate attempts to question her about the internet harassment charges. Ms. Bruno responds in character, while wearing several layers of costumes. It's like the dude walked into an acid trip. If I'm not mistaken, this even includes a smidgeon of ukelele. The original video on the NBC affiliate website is here, but a ganked, embeddable YouTube version is here and embedded above. (Thank you, John Andrew Walsh!)

UPDATE: Oh dear god, there's a followup segment, on the same local news channel, where the anchordüde interviews local police. Do watch, below (Thanks, Matty Kirsch)


  1. Wow. The reporter did such a terrible job of handling it too. Nothing. Just couldn’t role with it.

  2. Ha! This is why American comedy sitcoms suck so much (compared to British and Swedish). They just can’t compete with real life!

  3. Oh how delightfully subversive!

    I think she actually frightened that nasty little local news troll.

  4. That’s pretty awesome. The reporter should have known that this sort of sober, serious “investigative journalism” (in which they investigate snotty comments on Facebook) would not work particularly well on the proprietor of a costume shop. They should have anticipated that she would be an eccentric weirdo that would not take them seriously.

    Also, this comment is, of course, not intended to disparage eccentric weirdos, or costume shop owners, or really anyone other than so-called investigative journalists, and possibly Facebook users.

  5. Brilliant, she sure made the most out of it.

    I wonder if he is going to complaint for harassment too?

  6. How does one cyber stalk exactly? I mean, I get harassing and e-mailing, but stalking?

    Was she reading his forum posts without permission? Viciously looking at his my-space page?

  7. Love the way she completely ignores his attempts to bully her into taking the mask off.

  8. What a tool of a reporter. You INTO someone’s OWN store and then speak down to them the way he did? Thank you Easter Bunny – bock bock!

  9. I love who he tries to play the stern authority figure, and the fact is, he’s in her store, uninvted, trying to ruin her life. Eat it — helmut hair!

  10. Wow… makes me wonder what the personality of the competitor is like! ‘Cause if the alleged cyberstalking is a bunch of hogwash, the competitor must be bitter and paranoid (or at least vengeful in some sense). What kind of costume would they be wearing in their store to reflect that?

  11. @10

    apparently she was applying for life insurance and other things online using the info of a competitor.

    at least that’s what the competitor says in the full ‘I-Team’ interview.

  12. She was a little too weird for me, but I still love it. I love how the reporter keeps trying to order her around in her own store. At the end he tells her she needs to keep to herself after he had just brought a camera into her store with the intent of smearing her on the evening news. I wonder do they go putting the faces of everyone who commits a misdemeanor on tv in that town?

  13. It’s nice that a reporter gives her a “chance” to tell her side of the story. Because TV is a good place to do that.

  14. TV reporters generally are prepared to deal with aggressive types who don’t want to be on camera. This media suit has no clue, however, how to deal with the like of Ms. Bruna. Or anyone wearing two costumes.

  15. Signing people up for telemarketers and spam lists is “torture.” You hear that, people? TORTURE.

  16. OMG that was the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while. If only more local news interviews were this great. I might actually watch it once in a while. I think they should actively seek out crazies, instead of just putting people in “the hall of shame” lol

  17. Also the dancing, deranged muppet act always gets me. In other news, when the reporter did his in-studio segment he seems to haunting, souless eyes.

    /sports is next

  18. that is the best news report i have ever seen

    oh mike wallace is soooooo jealous right now

  19. Yeah, it´s fun to stick it to the stuck-up news guy.
    But really, doesn’t Ms Bruna come across as a helluva scary little lady – something between a Scooby Doo villain and 1980’s slasher flick?
    Or maybe its just my bozophobia acting up?

  20. “someone who would go to that extreme
    who would go to a library three and four times a week to do something like this”

    those darn libraries! hotbeds of extremism!

  21. So the take away here is, its ok to harass somebody, as long as you mess with the local news guy who comes to report on it. Then you’re just a zany trickster, stickin it to the man.

  22. “Ma’am I wanted to ask you about the police charging you with cyberstalking.”

    “What does that mean?”

    I was thinking the same thing, sans the crazy costumes and zany antics.

  23. Welcome to Rhode Island kids! That was my local library branch growing up, a few more bits on information regarding WJAR Channel 10….

    -the two newscasters Gene and Patrice are the inspiration for the Family Guy’s newscasters, Gene use to rock an amazing porn stash.

    -The weatherman propositioned my 20 year old friend for sex

    -Jim Taricani (the reporter who interviews the easter bunny) did six months of home confinement for refusing a court order to divulge a source in 2004.

    -reporter Mario Hilario tweezes his eyebrows so much so that he looks like the Cesar Romero Joker.

  24. Considering that he had actually set up an interview with the nutjob? I think her behavior goes a long way towards showing that she’s not at all with it. Maybe she’s planning on using the insanity defense.

    She was arrested for harassing someone, she’s not a funny folk-hero, she’s a creepy costumed loon.

  25. “Gene use to rock an amazing porn stash…”

    Do you mean ‘stache? Or did he show off his Playboy collection on air?

    Funny anyway, because I kept waiting for him to toss to Tricia Takanawa during that report.

  26. I had a mouthful of tea at the point she said “You take off YOUR mask!” Lucky for me, my Danny-Thomas-spit-take missed the keyboard.

  27. I’d be mildly amused by her wacky antics if it wasn’t apparent that she actually was signing up her competitor for all those telemarketing calls. What a sneaky creep.

  28. I’m going to keep a bunny mask in my pocket at all times.

    And will someone please post Ms. Sisson’s info up so we can sign her up for insurance.

    I mean really, we all need more Ann Bruno’s in the world!

    “what does that meaaan!”

  29. signing someone up for 50 telemarketing calls a day is like a real-life DDOS attack. cute tactic, but then she got caught.

  30. Donnie: Why do you wear that stupid bunny suit?
    Frank: Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?

  31. This reminds me of what comedians had to say about the recent plane crash into the Hudson River. So long as nobody got hurt it’s comedy gold. On serious injury or fatality, and it’s radioactive.

    This is by any measure funny as hell, except that underneath it all is the cyberstalking of Tracy Sisson who alleges that she has endured two years of harassment: prank calls, hangups, telemarketing calls and phony applications, as many as 60 a day.

    This article lays out some background for this story from the RI Providence Journal:

  32. @35: “Considering that he had actually set up an interview with the nutjob? I think her behavior goes a long way towards showing that she’s not at all with it.”

    Why do you hate the Easter Bunny?

    No eggs for you.

  33. I hate those segments where reporters barge in on someone’s office and try to trap them into looking like idiots. However she does seem quite nuts.
    I gotta feel for Ms Sission though. My office phone number was the “fake” number used by someone who liked to sign up for all sorts of trials of things but didn’t want the sales call afterwards. So s/he would sign up and give my phone number. For several years after I started here I got tons of calls from eager salespeople looking for this person and it’s very difficult to convince them that there is no such person. And half the time they’d try to sell me the product anyway! It’s not cyberstalking because it wasn’t directed at me – whoever it was probably doesn’t even realize the number belongs to anyone – but it sure as hell was annoying.

  34. Two questions here:

    1) What does it mean to catch someone in the act of allegedly doing something?

    and 2) How does Absolute Fun, which appears to be a playhouse/arcade, at all compete with a costume shop? Is there that little to do in Cranston?

  35. KPS – I don’t hate the Easter Bunny, I just think that cheering for someone that has been harassing someone for over two years is just plain wrong. This whack job went so far as to try to make it look like Sisson’s husband was having an affair during Sisson’s pregnancy. Tell me how trying to destroy someone’s marriage is just harmless and goofy fun.

    Bruno seems about 2 bumps shy of hunting down a pregnant woman, tearing out the unborn child with a spoon, and calling it her own.

  36. 1) The media always uses the term “Allegedly” now, to avoid being sued.

    2) Absolute Fun is a party resource, They actually had bought a costume from the whackjob, and canceled an order for a second because of how crappy the first was. That said, I don’t know as I’d call them competitors…

  37. @34 I thought it was pretty funny, but I’m glad the reporter went to jail instead of name his sources. I wonder how often reporters in the US name names instead of going to jail.

  38. The bunny is taking a smart stand for her rights.

    No, wait, roll with me here.

    These non-news stories (alleged spamming?) slant heavily against the accused. Whether she did it or not, having her on tape being confronted by a reporter can end up making her look guilty, or even get her on tape making a statement that could be used in court.

    If you get arrested, don’t talk to NOBODY about it, except a lawyer. Especially not some low-rent local newsie.

    She’s mocking for justice folks.

    I think the Bunny-Lady is BRILLIANT.

  39. I think it’s kind of disturbing that everyone is cheering for this woman. Sure the reporter was made a fool of and she managed to subvert his piece; yes the woman she was harassing was being melodramatic, but that doesn’t change the act. This shop owner was going after someone with no apparent legitimate grievance and you think that her acting like a child on camera makes her some kind of hero? What’s wrong with you people? If the costume lady had cause to harass (and really, what kind of cause here could be considered reasonable?) she could have at least stated her case. You seem to think that because she made someone from the establishment look foolish and that she made you laugh absolves her wrongs. It doesn’t. You don’t just slander people because you don’t like them.

  40. I’m going to have to agree with the minority opinion here. Yes, the local news guy got what he deserved, and the “interview” was pretty funny. But if this woman’s really been sicing marketers and life insurance agents (INSURANCE AGENTS, people – oh, the humanity!) on Sisson for over a year, that seems just plain mean and something that reasonable people shouldn’t be expected to just put up with.

  41. I used to be married to a woman from Rhode Island – seeing these clips explains a lot… ;-)


  42. Ceronomus: “KPS – I don’t hate the Easter Bunny, I just think that cheering for someone that has been harassing someone for over two years is just plain wrong.”

    If you bother to look up the contract Jesus has with the Easter Bunny, you’ll find that not only is the Easter Bunny allowed to harass you, he can even poop on the eggs he provides as long as he gives written notice.

    I suggest you watch your mail before you eat any of the usually yummy treats the Easter Bunny leaves for you.

    Oh wait, you said you hated the Easter Bunny. Or something like that.

  43. I sure don’t have any sympathy for the muck-raking, door-stepping, media troll who wants her to give ‘her side of the story’. (Yeah, right.) But seriously, you guys think this is *funny*? All I see is a sad, stressed-out old lady with some serious mental health problems. When did it become OK again to laugh at cripples?

  44. The insurance and re-financing and godknows what else douchebags were the agents of the harassment.

    Go blindside them, Kent Brockman.

  45. This is Providence Rhode Island, where I live. The reporter is one of the biggest sleaze balls around. Known for distorting stories and twisting quotes. This looks great on him. LOL

  46. Reminds me of that surfer being interviewed by the news reporter. The only difference is people here didn’t think it possible that a surfer had the IQ to mock the local media.

  47. Costume lady actions in shop would be very funny if not for the deadly serious nature of the situation. (I even laughed out loud when she said, “Awww… Matt Lauer would have done it.”)

    That said, Costume Lady’s alleged acts re: cyber-stalking are deplorable. If the allegations are true (and they seem to be since the police not only gathered evidence of past criminal activity but also “caught her in the act”), she is a threat to the health and safety of an innocent person. She went to the library “2-3 times A WEEK” over an extended period of time so she could cause her competitor to receive “50-60 phone calls A DAY.” Can you imagine what that would be like if someone did that to you? Assuming that they were calling from 8 Am to 10 PM, that is one unsollicited phone call every 14 minutes for 14 hours straight. Every single day of your life. For months. I would want her locked up for a long time – either in prison or in a psych ward.

    How many times do these types of obsession-based actions have to end up with innocent people being killed before people realize that this stalking behavior is usually the first indication that someone is going down the rabbit hole into la-la land and end up killing someone?

    Yes, she was funny, but as soon as I researched the rest of the story, I started hoping that she gets help.

  48. DONNIE
    Yeah. Tell me why you’re wearing that stupid bunny suit.

    Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?


    I saw it previously in the comments, but I wanted to resubmit it because it is very apropos.

  49. @55, @57,

    “Alleged” is used because it recognizes a crime was committed, but that the accused is innocent until proven guilty. It doesn’t have anything to do with ‘being sued’.

    Also, the media didn’t recently adopt this, it’s been in use for decades.

    /just so ya know

    //captcha for this post: We curled

  50. While I cannot imagine anyone condoning harassment (which is what seems to be, not cyber stalking), the incident is really amusing. Taricani is your typical run-of-the-mill local “investigative” reporter. This is what he does here in RI, sensationalistic pandering. His contribution to the community here is to fashion these low hanging fruit spots to get the masses to feel better about themselves.

    Until now, his only moment in the sun was when he violated a court order by disclosing a leaked FBI video tape related to a corruption trial (known locally as “plunder dome.”) He was criminally charged and sentenced to home confinement. We of course all “deserve to know,” but the tape could have been released after the trial.
    There were of course all sorts of journalists rallying to his side over the incident. What many of them failed to acknowledge was that he had the tape in question for 3 months prior to its release. When his station finally aired it, it was of course a “Channel 10 Exclusive,” and was released at the start of a ratings period.

    I truly hope he gets his just desserts someday and is recognized for what he is, a second rate entertainer, not a journalist.

  51. I think you guys who are upset about “condoning” harrassment are missing the point. That is a matter for the police, not the local news. Having a news story about you is damaging to your case and pretty much sets you as guilty in the public eye. It’s a polite shaming tactic, and it’s a gentle form of mob justice where the veiwers can all feel good about themselves and a singe person can be targeted. No matter how the case turns out it can damage business and create a situation where “public justice” far outweighs the court’s.

    I think she came off as batshit crazy because she probably is just that, however there was no way for her to look good once the news got involved so the best thing she could possibly have done is give the news more than it bargained for. More power to the crazy bunny lady, IMO. She is not absolved of her wrongs, but she shouldn’t be thrashed on a news show either. Two wrongs and all that….

  52. Yeah, that was my point in drawing attention to the so called “reporter’s,” actions here in this community. He had released court evidence to the public to basically boost his station’s ratings. When the judge ordered him to disclose his source, he made a big stink about journalistic integrity, and protecting his sources.
    Not enough folks discussed that whether or not the FBI tapes proved innocence or guilt, the judicial process was compromised because Taricani decided that he and the mob would decide guilt, not the courts.
    Eventually his source came forward, and said that Taricani had actually asked him NOT to come forward.
    As I implied, freedom of information is important, but not at the cost of a fair and just trial by jury. This woman may or may not be guilty, but Taricani and Rhode Island’s NBC affiliate Channel 10 has already decided for us.

  53. @75

    It used to be when someone was caught in the act the media just stated that they were caught in the act…not ALLEGEDLY caught in the act. Innocent until proven guilty…of course if you are caught breaking the law media outlets these days will continue to avoid any mention of anything OTHER than allegedly for fear of being sued.

    When I was growing up the media still had balls enough to tell people when someone was actually caught while committing a crime. This has nothing to do with presumption of innocence.

  54. BlueElm
    Now, if she *IS* guilty her lawyer (if she has one) would probably tell her to not speak to the press but then again, people in criminal cases lie to the media all the time. If she is innocent the logical choices are to either say nothing, or to tell their side of the story.

    Acting like a loon will probably HURT her case. You can bet that this will more than likely be entered as evidence. If I think that someone is bat-shit crazy and harassing me, and then they go on local TV acting bat-shit crazy? I certainly am going to use that to help support my point.

    This though, in no way, helps her. This wasn’t an ambush, the reporter actually called and set up an appointment to speak to her. She could’ve said no, but she set up a time (hence she knew to be in a costume AND an extra mask).

    Heck, even if guilty she could’ve used the opportunity to put forth a plausible sounding lie while not under oath. Guilty or innocent this could of helped her OR hurt her. She just made certain that it hurt her.

    Billthedog? The media didn’t decide this woman’s guilt for me…but her behavior certainly seems crazy enough to fit that of a person who would do what is alleged. If the news made this woman appear guilty, it was only by letting people see how she behaves.

  55. @ #79 posted by Ceronomus:

    When I was growing up the media still had balls enough to tell people when someone was actually caught while committing a crime. This has nothing to do with presumption of innocence.

    But the news reporter only knows is what the police said happened (which is another way of saying “alleged”). Accepting such statements as fact isn’t journalism, it’s parroting.

    If you’re a reporter on scene at an actual crime such as a high-speed chase or bank robbery then you can drop that “suspect” jargon and say “the driver” or “the gunman.” But responsible journalists don’t state as fact things that are as yet unproven.

  56. Is her last line in the first video something about Matt Lauer? That’s what it sounds like, and I really hope it is.

  57. Is that Roseanne Barr?

    Seriously though, I don’t care if the reporter’s a sh*thead or the costume lady appears funny – harrasment isn’t cool. If she is indeed guilty of the crime, then she’s a mean, disturbed freakazoid.

  58. This has everything to do with the presumption of innocence. It has always been this way, but you’d think we’d aspire to higher standards by now.
    Ask anyone who has been accused of political corruption, or sexual abuse, but was later acquitted. More often than not, their lives are ruined because their trial took place in the media via so called reporters like Taricani.

    I personally do not think a 1-3 minute spot on the local television news is a good venue to pass judgment on these matters. I do not believe the motivations for doing the interview were to let Bruna “tell her side of the story.” Her handling of the situation was no worse than having the “News Team” show up unannounced, bang on a door that no one will answer, or getting blind sided with a camera running and stumble nervously through a bunch of allegations which she may or may not have had the answer for.
    We have all seen how these interviews usually turn out. In these types of stories the reporter already has the case closed, they are there just to make the “scum bag” squirm as the community throws the metaphorical rotted cabbages at them.

    Even if she gave an articulate interview, do you think she would be portrayed fairly when the story was cut together?

    Whether or not she is guilty, she acted as seriously as the situation called for. She did not acknowledge Taricani as a legitimate reporter, but a sensationalist looking to fan some flames. The folks that saw this story and take Taricani seriously in the first place condemned her as soon as he chose to cover the story. Perhaps she is crazy, but perhaps she said, “screw it, I might as well have some fun as I go to the gallows.”

    Unemployment is at 10.5% here in RI and we have one of the highest foreclosure rates in the US, but this non-sense is somehow news worthy.

  59. I am not taking sides in this, but since one of the business owners in this video got a free plug for her website, I went and googled the competitor’s site:

    Hopefully that will even the playing field a bit.

    I live nowhere near RI, so I’ll probably never set foot in either place.

  60. @ 82 that is a good point. I guess I’m just approaching it from the idea that this woman really isn’t sane. You make sense though, but it still was painfully funny to me.

  61. i was in providence one night only, and i got the weirdest feeling. in the span of about a half an hour i saw a guy accused of stealing in a gas station, another guy telling his friend that there are cameras and microphones in the bushes, a dog attack a dude just walking down the street, and a motorcycle run a red light, barely miss a truck, run up on the sidewalk and scare the shit out of a group of pedestrians.

    Providence: God conceived as the power sustaining and guiding human destiny.

  62. Providence is also the home of Oscar the Death-Cat, and also the late H.P. Lovecraft.

    Must visit it someday.

  63. Funny video notwithstanding, I think you are all missing a critical point here – Why is this a criminal matter? Certainly this whole issue would be better served to all parties through civil rather than criminal courts.

    The video discusses that this is the first prosecution under the state’s new cybercrime laws. I don’t know anything about Rhode Island’s law, but in general, the cybercrime laws passed in the last decade have few tests/precedents. As these cases are prosecuted and case law becomes precedent, a whole new framework of potentially confining cyberlaw comes into perspective. I’d much rather see these two mediate their issue and seek the appropriate enforced injunctions, than use criminal law to interpret and potentially restrict cyberspace.

  64. @91 -TEFLON, I think that the points you raise are very important, but it is difficult for folks consider them when the story is presented the way it is. Taricani could indeed do many of the stories he covers thoughtfully and in a balanced fashion, but instead he aspires to the models put forth by National Enquirer or “Inside Edition.” This is our crap media and precisely why the issues you raise are not discussed.

  65. This girl was definetly set up. I work at the library and she comes in daily to rent movies, videos, cd and books. She also did some puppet and hat displays in the same library. She is very much into theater and makes all the costumes in her store. She told me that she gets inspired by costumes and movies.
    She only used the computer while her’s was being serviced. If you have been to her shop, you would agree that this lady is so very talented and has a passion for costume and design.
    Sisson is not a competetor at all. She works out of her father’s house in Cranston.Its a family owned business and her father drives the van and her brother sets up the bouncy things. He father is ‘Roland Moretti’. He has spent several years in prison for credit card fraud and also she was recently arrested for selling drugs to minors and violation of his parole. Vincent Moretti spent 3 years in prison. He was a former prison guard. Money is the motive for Sisson. There is no way that she gets 50 calls a day that are harrassing calls but her father was also involved in ‘Operation Mobbed up’ for racketeering and bookmaking. Feb 3 2009.
    Check it out, It’s not made up, Look it up on the internet. Roland Moretti arrested’
    People in glass house shouldn’t throw stones.
    I don’t know why Sisson thinks Bruno is a competetor. Bruno owns a costume shop with extroadinary handmade costumes.
    Sisson’s father has the blow up jumpy things at his house.
    Sounds fishy to me.
    Let’s examine the facts here.

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