Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Criminals in My Midst

I took Monday off from work to take care of some personal business and as I was walking out to my car in the driveway, I could hear another car idling nearby. I realized that a vehicle was stopped on the other side of my trees on my property. I got in my car and drove around to where the other vehicle was stopped to see who it was and what they were doing.

I was going to tell them they are trespassing on private property, but the first thing that caught my eye was a long tattoo down the calf of the guy who was outside the truck. Not many people around here have tattoos. Then I saw that the truck had California plates. The guy was standing outside the passenger door leaning in and doing something frantically underneath the dashboard under the glove compartment.

I didn't want to assume they were up to no good, so I said, "Do you need any help?"

The guy froze, so I knew he heard me. Then he slowly turned around and I saw that he was wearing a black wig and a fake black mustache. He was in disguise. My brain couldn't process the scene. Is it Halloween? Could it be October already? No. And he couldn't be going to a party, because it's 9:30 in the morning.

The guy said, "We're okay. We just blew a fuse," and he waved me off.

He went back to fiddling under the dashboard. The engine was already running, so I knew he wasn't trying to hot wire the truck. I slowly drove past and saw another guy in the passenger seat wearing a long, curly black wig and he appeared to be looking around nervously. I drove to the end of the street, knowing I had to call the police and at the same time not wanting to leave my son at home alone with those weirdos out in front of my house. Fortunately, they quickly pulled out behind me. I turned right and they turned left. As soon as I got to my destination I called the police.

The lady chewed me out for not calling right away, and I was confused, because only a few minutes had passed since the incident. However, I figured out later that I gave her the wrong time, because the clock in my son's car was an hour slow. Anyway, she told me that they received a call about those same people from someone else and they were looking for them. I was pissed at myself because not only did I give the police the wrong time, but I didn't get the license plate number, and I forgot to tell them that they had a dog in the bed of their truck. I think I was so shocked by their blatant disguises that I wasn't thinking clearly.

Then I called my son to tell him to lock the doors and keep an eye out for them. He said the police had already been by talking with another neighbor. I've been reading the news, but no reports came out about those guys, so I don't know if they were just a couple of young dudes on their way to an early morning costume party who happened to pull over on my property because they blew a fuse, or if they just robbed a bank. Our community has been having problems with bank robbers, vehicle burglars, vandals and home invaders lately.

Also, we've been having problems with our PRIVATE ROAD - 10 MPH - STRICTLY ENFORCED signs. I paid good money for those. However, every freakin' time I walk outside, the sign at the end of the street is broken. We keep fixing it and within a few hours or days it is broken again. At first I just thought the wind was breaking it, but the wind can't unscrew a screw over such a long bolt over such a short period of time, and there hasn't been any wind between some of the repairs and breaks.

This past weekend I found all the nuts and bolts and washers underneath the sign on the ground and put it back together myself. I fastened it so tight that someone would have to be really motivated and have some tools to take it down. The next day I drove past the sign and sure enough, it was broken again. This time the culprit took the hardware with him instead of leaving it on the ground. Plus there are cigarette butts littering the ground on my property around the sign, so I'm pretty sure one of my neighbors is messing with me. My son tried reattaching it not just with nuts, bolts and washers, but with Super Glue. It would be nice if they made some Super Glue that stays wet until someone touches it, and then it fuses their fingers to the sign. That would be one way to catch the culprit.

I'm on the warpath now. If I have to walk outside every 15 minutes throughout the day and night to catch this jerk, I'm doing it. Then I'm pressing trespassing charges. I've got better things to be doing with my time than fixing vandalism on my property.

Also, I found out from the County Planning Department that all these neighbors who are running businesses out of their homes that involve construction, manufacturing or working on vehicles are doing it illegally. So, I got myself a bunch of complaint forms and I'm planning on filling out one complaint per neighbor who makes a racket on a regular basis. The lady at the Planning Department was shocked that I've had to put up with some of the noise pollution we've been having, and she commiserated on my problems with training my horses in such an environment. She said they'll back me up and enforce the zoning laws with these people. She even said that it's illegal for my next door neighbor to have all those junk vehicles parked up against my fence.

I know my neighbors are just trying to make a living, but they are forgetting that this is a residential neighborhood and they are not the only ones in it. There are plenty of people trying to train horses and plenty of other people trying to sleep. The only way I can restore the peace and prevent my home from being industrialized is to enforce the law. If they don't want to pay rent on a building in an industrial zone, they can always move to a county that has more relaxed laws.

More signs that my neighborhood is going downhill (and school has been let out for the summer): My son and I went to a fairly new park that is just one block away from our house to play tennis, and the park employees were washing graffiti off the walls we hit tennis balls against. I just don't understand why so many people are bent on fouling their own nests.


Mikey said...

Man that is crazy!!! Dudes in wigs and fake mustaches? At 9:30 in the morning? I would have been scared for sure. Unreal!!
And you go after those neighbors. It's not right. I think you are going to have to do patrols to catch who's doing that to your sign. One tip. Where ever you go now, keep your camera with video handy, and videotape the vandal of your sign in action. I would lay in wait, because obviously who ever it is sees you fix it, and comes right out as soon as you're gone. Lay a trap, get it on video and press charges.
I just can't believe you have to deal with all this. That is some serious craziness.

Sydney_bitless said...

What the heck!? Thats insane!

fernvalley01 said...

That sounds scary ! And the lady giving you grief for when you called? Yeesh , people already have a "don't get involved" attitude,I hardly thnk that helps

Fantastyk Voyager said...

Wow, you better be careful! What if they pull a gun on you?

Paint Girl said...

That is very scary, I would be worried that they might have a weapon. Who drives around in wigs and fake mustache's anyways? They obviously were up to no good!!
Stay safe and hopefully you can get those neighbors in trouble so you can get stuff done in peace!

Dreaming said...

My heart was pounding just reading your description. I think I would have peed in my pants when the guy pulled his head out. How incredibly freaky!
Oh, the image of someone stuck to the sign with super glue is heartwarming! I wish they did have something like that! When superglue first came out my husband and his work buddies would glue a quarter on the floor, just to entertain themselves in watching people try to pick it up!
I agree with Mikey about getting photos. I bet you could do it easily.
Good luck!

Lulu said...

I'm very glad to hear you are going after your noisy neighbors!!!

Cheryl Ann said...

Nuzz, YES, it is ILLEGAL to run a business from your home like your neighbors are doing (at least in my town, too!) Good for you! And, the disguises? I'm sure those two were up to NO GOOD! There have been some home invasions in our desert lately. Best to keep your eyes and ears open!

allhorsestuff said...

Gosg darn it allI Am frustrated with whom ever is fiddling with the sign! Put some trailer- ball- goo- all- over- the- nuts- and- bolts!!! Put dog poo on the ground under it too!.. Just make it unattractive to mess with! Man!

Scary stuff...I am glad you are so vigilant.. good on you!
I always have my digital camera on me now too...accidents and or stuff like that..I take photo's of..I so don't care if folks see me..it is my record and proof.
Take care...keep heart~

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Well, you go girl!

Of course, my first instinct is to say. MOVE!!!!!

But if you just can't, then go ahead and fight the war, and get your neighborhood back the way it should be.

I just hope it's not too late.

Be careful, k?


Vaquerogirl said...

Wahoo! Things are gonna get Western there! Keep your wits about ya toots and carry if ya gotta!

I'm glad you are going to make the complaints, but beware of retaliation- keep that camera handy!

Breathe said...

Stay safe and keep a cell phone with you.

I never have understood vandalism. Especially since it's always in home territory. It's a form of self loathing.

Rising Rainbow said...

If you ever figure out the answer to that question, I'd like to know.

The guys in the wigs were up to no good, that's for sure.

Anonymous said...

What Mikey said about the camera!

And good for you for taking steps to have the zoning enforced. Remember, though, it may take time, but don't let them forget about it. Call frequently to check on what's happening with your complaints. The squeaky wheel, you know. Also, be prepared for someone to complain you are working out of your home. I speak from experience!

Guys in wigs would have scared the shit outta me. Yeah, sometimes the dispatcher is not a great person to talk to but then, consider the stress thay are under in their job.

So sad folks feel the need to mess with the sign. Get it on camera! Press charges. Hoinestly, it's the only way with folks like that.

LOL, my one foreclosed on problem neighbor moveded out, and the other one was over there taking everything not nailed down. 3 trailer loads, I kid you not. Unfortunately, the one that moved wound up very near my best friend. In fact, he's on a property adjoining one of the hayfields my hay comes from. But the joke's on him as he wound up between and across from some of the most law and order type guys you would ever meet! Karma or something.

Stick to your guns, gal!