Living Next Door to a Stalker
It was 2013 when I had first bought and moved into my beautiful townhouse condo. I'd just woken up at 6am on a Saturday and peeked through the blinds to the outside, which faced the parking lot. About 4 cop cars were parked outside along the street to my condo complex. Hhmm. I thought this was a safe neighborhood – what happened? Curiosity got me dressed to check it out, but by the time I was outside, the cops were driving off. I walked in search of where the cops had parked but did not see anything discernible – but also outside lurking was a white-haired male neighbor in his late 50's, dressed in exercise gear. He'd walked by me with a kind of weird smile and smarmy side eye, which had creeped me out. This was the start of his stalking and yes, the start of danger. I will call him Perv.
The next Monday morning, Perv had greeted me from his car when I was getting into mine, as I started my morning work commute. His spot was assigned next to mine. Every morning—Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday—Perv would go to his car at the same time as I did. He was usually dressed in shorts and t-shirts with a ball cap. After a few weeks of these 'coincidences', I tried varying my time by 5-10-15 minutes to my car – but he still showed up at his car then too. I'd finally realized that since Perv's condo was on the first floor facing the parking lot, he was listening for the car fob chirping my car doors open. One time, I actually saw him watching out his windows for me.
So I began manually opening my car door. I'd had a few days of freedom from Perv, but then he'd also changed his MO – he would wear jogging clothes and run past me on the sidewalk. I realized that he must have been hiding and waiting from the woodsy area facing the condo front doors. Another time Perv would walk by carrying and reading his mail. If I had to drive somewhere, he would appear at his car too; if I had to dump trash at the dumpsters, he would appear; if I was meeting someone outside in the parking lot, he would appear. My rage grew every time he appeared, and I realized that was his intention all along. He'd actually laughed at my frustration.
I'd told a friend about these appearances, and she informed me that he was a stalker. “Start keeping a log of these appearances with details.” Someone else informed me that he is a narcissist, and I began to search for more information online about Perv's type. Yes, he fit the mold, and it was a help because a lot of narcissists are cut from the same scary bad psychological mold:
They do not respect your boundaries – check. Perv would park just over the parking spot line adjoining my space so that I could barely squeeze into my spot. They deflect responsibility for anything they might do to you – check. After filling up pages in a stalking log of Perv's appearances, I'd emailed that to the local cops. A cop went to talk to Perv, who said it was all coincidences, and he was happily married and busy with his kids. They play the victim – check. I had been out walking with a neighbor and Perv had suddenly appeared in his SUV, and I'd exclaimed that he was stalking. He'd held out his arms like “Whoa! Get away from me!”
So I requested and obtained permission to work from home, just to avoid Perv's stalking. During that time, his then-wife left. I'd only realized this by finding about 5--6 pieces of her mail inside my own mailbox, which had gotten sticky and hard to open too. I'd realized that none of Perv's personal mail, or any other resident's mail, was in there – it was my mail and hers. Speculatively, if stalkers do not respect boundaries, was Perv prying into my mailbox too?! It must have made a lot of sense for an angry Perv to leave his 'deserting' wife's mail in someone else's mailbox, to get rid of it, and at the same time, scare and confuse the owner of the mailbox, me.
Another time, I'd requested a resident tag for the condo complex pools. I kept checking my mailbox for this tag, but it supposedly didn't arrive. I asked for a replacement, and a condo manager reluctantly mailed me another. With my new pool tag, I hung out at the pool with some neighbors one weekend. Perv showed up and sat within 4 feet of us – we were the only folks there that day, so there was plenty of room for Perv to sit elsewhere around the pool. It was too close for comfort so I left then. Later, upon reflecting on that incident, I believe that he could have stolen that first pool tag, and he was wearing regular street clothes and not swimwear, so he was not intending to swim at all – just to stalk and intrude on my free time with good neighbors.
For my work commute, I had been going to a nearby train station instead of my town's own station. One morning after parking and walking a bit aways from the station parking lot, which was full, who do I see but Perv, casually walking towards me, wearing workout gear, as if it was normal to be exercise-walking in that area away from the condo complex. I was in shock. “What are you doing here?! You're a freak! A stalker!” “Ohhh, that hurts my feelings. I was doing it to get under your skin.” He'd looked so pleased with himself then. I'd started to shake and walk away; he did not follow then.
That same week, he'd shown up at the local grocery store the same time as I, shopping during my work lunchtime. He was pushing a cart inside the store opposite mine, acting all casual, smiling. I was in shock and fear. When I came out to the parking lot, his distinctive blue old Subaru SUV was parked opposite my car. I remember shaking so hard, I could hardly get my phone's camera to work, taking pictures of him parked next to mine while he was getting inside his SUV, and I'd yelled at him to stop, that I was calling the cops, and screaming in the parking lot for help. He'd quickly taken off.
I did call 911; the local cop listened while I explained. The cop said he would talk to his superior and most likely they would get a detective to respond. I'd waited some weeks for that, but no one got back to me from the station; when I contacted them, they said that he was my neighbor and there wasn't much they could do. Where should I go for help then?
Someone on a stalking victims' website suggested that a body camera was a stalker's kryptonite. So I went to a spy shop where all the items were displayed – but without any prices. The cashier said to ask him for the item price. I just felt like they could rip folks off and ended up buying one from Amazon. The body camera was indeed his kryptonite. I'd also looked into hiring a private investigator, who informed me that for his services, he charged by the day even if his investigation took a lot less time.
Then the age of COVID-19 started with lockdown. Perv continued stalking, although not up close and personal due to the body camera – he would follow me in his SUV from the condo complex to the train station on at least 2 occasions that I was aware about, and he'd also rented other SUVs to follow me. On one occasion driving from my condo to my mom's house, I saw him 2 cars behind me – he was driving his distinctive old blue Subaru SUV then. I'd quickly pulled to the road side to watch him drive past me then, while I drove around a local area to see if he continued following. At my mom's house, her next-door neighbor had cameras up, for which I was grateful.
Perv had yet to relent. In the mornings, I would peek outside and he'd be waiting in the parking lot and would start his lewd, crude, and rude actions – twice, he'd looked at me and then made a beeline to my front door area as if I was going to open my door. And twice, he'd thrust his pelvis at me; I would just be incredulous that this was no longer covert. I stopped looking out my windows.
Folks suggested putting up Ring cameras; these incensed Perv further. I had car cameras installed; these would activate only when the car started, so I imagine the stalker figured that out – at least 6 times over the years, I would return to my car and a windshield wiper was suddenly broken or my side view mirror pushed in. I had cameras installed over the front door and a spotlight camera installed overlooking my car in the parking lot.
I believe this motivated him to engineer further revenge. After a downstairs neighbor moved out and listed his condo, which overlooked my outside HVAC unit, suddenly my AC was broken in the hottest part of summer. Not just randomly either – the A/C had worked all week, but I would come home on a Sunday night after a weekend away to find it broken. This happened on one Tuesday after a holiday weekend and 2 more Sunday nights, so I finally installed yet another Ring camera, this time overlooking the outside A/C unit. The inside unit drove the HVAC techs crazy; they could not figure out how to fix it. “I'm a HVAC expert. Wires are crossed where they should not be.” So I asked them if they believed it was sabotaged. “Yes.” Eventually, the A/C had to be replaced entirely.
A friend suggested that it would be best if I moved and, eventually, I agreed. I was physically ill while packing up to move, but I persevered. Then I'd installed my cameras at my new home. Around 3:30 am one May morning, my Ring camera caught a suspicious SUV driving by and then immediately backing up to pause at my front door. The police response to that incident was there wasn't much they could do.
Another narcissist stalker's trait: They like to intrude on you especially on holidays or big events, to ruin your time and memories. Check. On Labor Day, Perv had shown up at the Acme, acting all casual and avoiding eye contact – and directly behind me in the self-checkout line. I immediately got out of line and into a cashier's line. Since he liked to break my car windshield wipers, I checked them – they appeared fine but the next day, it was raining and yes, one was broken. On Black Friday, his adult daughter (who lives with him and is someone who enables him) showed up at a nearby store – I believe she knew and intended to appear before me, same as her father, because in both stores at both times, I was wearing a disposable face mask and was not recognizable unless they had already known that I was shopping there. I'd had 'location' off on my cellphone, but they somehow know how to track me still.
Yet another narcissist's trait: They think of themselves as entitled and superior to others. They usually show this with a smirk, which is an irritating, arrogant, conceited, smug look. Check. Whenever I would drive into the condo parking lot, Perv would be sitting in his parked SUV, as if he was waiting for me. As he'd walk back to his condo, he'd smirk as if to say “I am following you, I know your arrivals and whereabouts.”
So is Perv definitely a narcissist, or even a psychopath or sociopath? No matter the term, he is a predator, always watching, studying a victim's habits and routines, lifestyle, and people around them. Unpredictable and therefore dangerous. The laws have to change to criminalize his kinds of actions AND to ensure that police take this seriously.
Too many other things happened beyond what's mentioned in this story. Do I believe he's a criminal in other ways beyond stalking? Yes. One time, he wore a black turtleneck top and black pants like a cat burglar. He would rent SUVs or minivans with back windows heavily tinted despite having his own working SUV; a few times, he used those to follow me, and a few times, he would be working out of the back of the minivans with the trunk lid open, standing for hours and working on something inside the minivan. If I were to speculate, he didn't want to use his own SUV for reasons like leaving evidence in his own SUV. I also believe he does not respect anyone's boundaries, so he most likely has done this before to others. Perv has no morals and never cared about whether his actions bothered me.
Definitely not the neighbor you want living next door.