Neighbor (from hell) Has Been Vandalizing My Property!

whokilledmyflowers89June 24, 2013

Hello out there to all!!! I am in desperate need of advice and information on neighbors that destroy your property. First and foremost I don't need anyone telling me that "Adults don't behave this way...." or "You should take it as a compliment!" There's nothing flattering about knowing that your neighbors have been trying to destroy everything you have put very hard work and time into. (At least not to

And now for the story.... my fiance and I have just purchased our first home. We are absolutely in love with everything about it. When we first came across it, it needed ALOT of work; most of which we did ourselves.( With the exceptions of having a floor guy install hardwood) Long story short, I noticed right away that there were flower beds in the front yard and I'm the gardener in our family so you know I was thrilled! :) A couple of elephant ear plants, a lilac and some dandelions had already been beautifully planted but hadn't been cared for in some time but I was still able to nurse them all back to full health and added vegetables and more flowers in other rows. It has turned out very beautifully and I take great pride in my work.

This neighborhood is very peaceful, friendly, and quiet. Almost all of the surrounding neighbors came by to introduce themselves and welcome us to the neighborhood which made us feel very appreciative of the choice we made to move here. Only our left side neighbors have given us a problem. When we first met them, I will be honest. I didn't like them. They are an older couple with no children and a very sweet& beautiful golden retriever. The female was very short with us and it was quite obvious that she wasn't too thrilled about us but still tried to be polite. I noticed her garden was being installed by "professionals" around the same time we were working on ours which is no big deal. That's life in suburbia for you. Everyone has to do what everyone else is doing. Another long story short, hers turned out beautifully too and we let her know that with smiles on our faces.

I'm not a competitive gardener at all and do my best not to try and focus on projects that others are currently doing so that I don't come off like I am. So I don't mind waiting for others to finish up their projects first so that they get the praise and attention they deserve. But at the same time, we were moving in so we didn't really have time to wait around and wanted our home to be beautiful on moving day. I also enjoy cutting grass, and the grass was pretty high so of course we don't want a mean letter from the HOA lol and I cut it. That's when things went totally south.......

They have a beautiful fence surrounding their back yard but didn't actually check to see where their property line starts and ends so it takes up space on other surrounding properties. That made me think there may possibly be an issue in the future. They also have a "gumball" tree that entirely hangs over our side and drops hundreds of spikey balls daily. That can be very irritating especially when they never offer to come out and clean them up. I have picked up literally hundreds of them up and can't let the kids play back there because they are becoming impacted in the lawn and they often fall and hurt themselves on them. It's also damaging our back lawn because they are suffocating our grass. But still we haven't gone and yelled at them about it and never have made any rude comments about it. My fiance was helping and I mentioned to him how many of those things I have found and we laughed about it. With that said, I still don't think it's my responsibility to be the only one picking them up. Now whenever I go out to pick them up, she will rush outside and barrel right past me with her lawn mower and cut the area (which is our side of the yard. we checked with the city.) and further impact them into the ground or send them flying into more areas of the lawn.

The following morning she came outside while I was watering the plants and taking out the trash and lied to my face claiming she had just spent hours picking gumballs up yesterday which is totally untrue. she couldn't have been out there because we were and I never have seen her come out a pick up anything. This is when I realized she had been just sitting there and eavesdropping on us for days. That's when I said to her "Yeah I'm not trying to be rude or complain but I'm having difficulty keeping our lawn with those things always falling into it and getting stuck there. I don't mind picking them up, but I don't remember seeing you outside yesterday." And she ran inside. Later on coming out wearing the exact same thing I was and trying to get me compliment it. By that point, I thought she was mentally ill or just old and didn't know any better but definitely WEIRD.

Next morning, I found her halfway in our front lawn pretending to have been doing something but really wasn't. I came outside and she jumped and lied again claiming she had found some box turtles she rescued from the road that she was putting in our yard to surprise our little ones. She then had her dog charge after me! But it didn't work, because little does she know, I love animals and all i had to do was sweet talk it and pet it before he jumped on me. She seemed very confused by that. This would be very sweet, had that really been her intentions. I told my fiance about it and he gave a good point, "Well, why didn't she just knock on the door? If the turtles were about to hit oncoming traffic, it would be stupid to just leave them once again somewhere they could easily get into the road again." There was a small turtle in the yard but it was because they had all migrated from the park in the back yard, not because she rescued them. It had markings so I knew they were protected by our local officials and still kindly thanked her and set the turtle free back into the park.

Then on, anytime we were outside we knew we were bieng watched constantly by her. When we run errands we stop on our porch before leaving and list off all the things we need because we are very forgetful at times. And every thing we said we had plans to do, she'd try and rush and do it before us. For example, if I came outside calling out to my fiance "Hey babe, would you mind grabbing the hose for me?", she'd send her husband outside with a hose to water plants that had already been watered or have him stand there for hours to glare at me while i'm working on my garden.

Next, we decided to add some pretty solar-powered garden lights and carefully picked out a few sets and installed them. One set was connected with wires just like on Xmas lights and the lights are clear colored dragonflies that we placed in the mulch instead of the bushes (because it'd look to christmas-y lol). When those were finished, she complimented our garden with EXTREME SARCASM and marched off. The next few days I had to borrow the fiance's car and drop him off at work because mine was being fixed and had several appointments I couldn't miss. Only, to see her begin driving her husband's truck, once again not really going anywhere or doing anything and I caught her following me or slowly coasting past my house to make faces at us. The following morning I came outside to find the wires had been obviously cut, and one of my lilacs had been chopped at the stems. I knew right away who'd the culprit would be and called our local police station to ask for more information on how to deal with this. They wanted to send someone out but I declined because I wanted to actually catch her in the act. So my fiance and I decided the best way to act is to kill her with kindness and not let it phase us. Just because her life revolves around things of that nature doesn't mean ours has to. Being the sweetheart that he is, he fixed the wires for me, buried them again, and we went off to bed making sure to try and get up every once in a while and check our yard for intruders. But we were so exhausted from a hard days work that we fell asleep early morning. I got up at about 7AM to find the wires were dug up again but this time no cuts were made. Enough was enough by then, and I called the police. An officer showed up and I reported the crime to him. He looked at the wires and said "I cannot believe people are doing this to you. These wires have definitely been tampered with and not by an animal. How much of this have you endured??" He also said he really couldn't do much of anything only because we didn't actually see her do it but he still took a report and had extra officers roll by the house later to hopefully catch her. He even got in the garden with me and helped me secure the wires better! While I was small talking with him before he left, her husband slowly crept into his driveway, stared at us and then sped off. Hmm, kinda odd to drive all the way home and just leave like that. I definitely believe he was trying to avoid the cops.However I am thankful for what that officer did for us. We didn't want to fix them because we didn't want to let them go, but because that would be one of the best ways to show her that she didn't win without getting into an altercation. We put even more lights next to them to also show that she doesn't scare us and never will. We will do as we please with our yards, within city laws of course.

we posted a sign over our garden stating that the police have been informed and that if the culprit came by and touched our property again that we will press charges. We don't speak to or even acknowledge her because she feeds off of attention of any kind. Even if it's negative, it still lights her up to know she has successfully pissed someone off. But I still think she's probably waiting for another opportunity to vandalize again.

We live in Missouri and aren't familiar with the property damage laws. I hope someone with experience can give us advice. We surely need it. My apologies for this being so long....this story is endless.

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There are cheap field cameras out now. Put one up and next time you see them show her the picture with your proof and call the police. From then on post a warning sign that you are being recorded on your property. This will stop her. Some people thrive on things like this.. Sadly, they are your neighbors.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 2:22PM
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get a motion activated camera...

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 2:33PM
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& don't put a sign up to warn them.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 2:34PM
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Good fences make good neighbors. Put one up.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 5:47PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Things that fall on your property, like leaves and gum balls, are yours to deal with. Not hers. There are two sides to every story, and I'm sure she has an equal Neighbor From Hell story about the crazy lady who wants her to do her neighbor's yard work.

If you feel that she is the culprit in damaging your property, it's up to you to provide the proof that that is so. Put in a camera and a no trespassing sign. But don't be surprised if she's not the cause.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2013 at 7:22PM
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You also need to be careful pointing fingers as when you do remember that there are four pointing back at you. As holly mentions there are more than one side to every story, his, yours and somewhere in between is the truth!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 9:10AM
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You need a fence. First have a survey done to be sure of the property line. As for the gumballs, if they fall on your side, they are your responsibility to clean up. You probably have the right to cut off any branches that are hanging over your property.

Also put up a motion detector light that activates when someone steps on your property. Great way to stop night time invaders. I have dog walkers on my street who come out at night and let the dogs unload on people's lawns. Nothing like a spotlight shining to make them keep walking.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 10:18AM
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That's a wierd story. All the characters seem like very irritating people.

My neighbors' professional dog walker would have the dogs poop on my raspberry bush every day! I have another neighbor who goes on and on without pause. I peek outside to make sure they are not around before going to my car. My front yard has an 8' high wall with a lokced door. There is a big (fake) camera mounted in plain sight right on top. Guess why I built that?

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 1:05PM
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Definitely get a survey. What I would do is treat the neighbors with a minimum of civility like I would anyone else. I would tell them I'm not sure where the property line is for my new house so I'm going to get a survey, just wanted to let them know. Have the surveyor put a permanent marker - this can be a metal rod flush with the ground so mowers do not hit it. Take pictures of where those are in case they dig them up.

If the fence is on your side, you might have to write them a letter stating that is the case. If you aren't going to make them move it, you can give them written permission to encroach, which protects you from losing that strip of land due to squatter's rights.

I agree that stuff that falls off a tree in your yard is yours to deal with. Unfortunately. However a lot of people don't feel that way. I have neighbors with a Better Homes & Gardens look to their place. We planted a tree on the property line years before their house was built which now gives them massive shade on their patio in the hot afternoon. They collect twigs and pile them at the property line for us to dispose of . You'd think they would appreciate the shade enough to take care of the twigs.

They sound like real nut cases, possibly paranoid or Borderline Personality Disorder (Google it, you might find it interesting). So far nothing is more than an annoyance except for the vandalism. I would act dumb and ask them if they've had any vandalism like that. I wouldn't use signs to communicate with them, it just makes you look nutty too. Put up the camera but don't tell anyone. And do it at night so they don't see you.

Above all, don't obsess over these nutty people. Let them do their thing and try to ignore them. I know it makes things difficult. At least they're old, maybe they won't be around long.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 11:27AM
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These folks obviously don't have 'boundaries' and don't respect them like normal people. They probably see it as trying to protect themselves in some crazy way. Your statement at the top of your post that they are trying to destroy everything you've worked for sounds like an overreaction, though. They CANNOT do that, and you will feel better if you remind yourself of that. Go about your business with confidence and try not to catastrophise. You'll be OK. If you worry and obsess, the darkness wins.

Keep us posted.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2013 at 11:32AM
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...after the survey but before you show the crazies where the pins/spikes are, have a few of your own available and bang them in parallel to the surveyors but perhaps a few feet away and deep enought not to be seen (still on the property line of course)....that way when the folks pull the pins out at night, you will have another set in place unbeknownst to them.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 1:59PM
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I have a rather LARGE gumball tree. The idea that I should pick them up from the neighbors properties is laughable. If the tree bothered you so much, you should have considered that before you bought the property, maybe. Two sides to every story. I had a hard time following most of your story- but you both seem kind of crazy to me. Do yourself a favor and stop talking to each other.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 11:36PM
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"I have a rather LARGE gumball tree. The idea that I should pick them up from the neighbors properties is laughable. If the tree bothered you so much, you should have considered that before you bought the property, maybe. Two sides to every story. I had a hard time following most of your story- but you both seem kind of crazy to me. Do yourself a favor and stop talking to each other."

Are you this person's neighbor? Sounds like it.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 8:16PM
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Lol if you claim to have read what I wrote then you would see that I also said I didn't mind picking them up just that they kill our grass, etc. So Angie, you can call me crazy but I never said they needed to to chop it, or that I refuse to keep bothering with it. You are right there are two sides, but if you're going to explain away that, explain away the fact that my car wasn't home yesterday and they assumed I wasn't home so, they came over and stole a plant? If you don't have any answers for this then, why bother? Two every story and perhaps even YOU are the maniac. I chopped my story because it was already LONG and didnt even bother to mention ALL of the things that have occured which doesn't help me in any way, just the culprit.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 10:39AM
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Also for those who suggested I just ignore them....if you have been actually reading you will see that's what we have been trying to do. But she only gets mad that we don't show her attention so she tries in much more annoying ways to get it from us. Like running an electric saw at all hours of the night....

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 11:07AM
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I think most of us can recognize that they are engaging in some very nutty behavior. Keep in mind we don't know everything and haven't seen these people in action.

How late at night are they running this saw? There may or may not be an ordinance, but in most places it's generally accepted that 10 pm (give or take) is a reasonable quiet hour.

I would definitely report theft to the cops no matter how small. Did you actually see her do it? Yikes! I don't know if a noise complaint will do any good, depends on the time of night. With 'normal' neighbors you can just ask them to hold it down, but these folks obviously ain't. However, if you ask them to AND document it in your log (you are keeping track of events, right?), it gives you more ammunition for later.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 4:19PM
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Okay... being a confrontation person... I would NOT be nasty, but I certainly would't be neutral or nice and just positively reinforce their rotten behavior. Next time something is obviously off, just talk to her with a :"What gives? Why are you doing this?" And if she denies it...just honestly tell her how you view it and how irritating/wrong it is.

Just my confrontational 2 cents.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 10:51PM
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Thank you Zophra and Toxcrusadr....your advice has been most helpful while this has been going on. I really appreciate the fact that you can see how this behavior isn't normal. When reading about how they cannot ever destroy everything we worked for, it opened up a new positive perspective for me. After the first vandalism, I began keeping a log of every encounter i've had with this woman. I definitely reported the plant theft to police. She dug up and took a plant that my daughter helped grow and gave to me for Mother's Day. The plant had a label on it reading "my love for you grows every day" with a picture of my daughter planting it. Also found a few more of my daffodils ripped and chopped at the stems. I figured out quickly what the motive for this one was. she thought she'd be hurting me by going for my plants because of how much time I spend caring for them. Little does she know, at the end of the day they are still just plants and she is merely giving me another excuse to buy more seeds and double the amount i originally had. This proved effective the first time she cut my light wires. I got out there and put more lights up immediately after the police left and my fiance surprised me with some new plants and miniature greenhouse so that I could put my plants in a safe place at night. She hasn't touched a thing in it because it's placed on our porch where two very large windows would instantly expose her. I leave a container out to place gumballs in and show her that there is no beef between me and her about that. I understand that it's my responsibility to pick them up if on my property, I just didn't understand why she was so bothered by me picking them up. She doesn't have to bear most of the weight and yet any time she sees me picking them up, she will come running outside to push past me with her mower or even lie to me about having been picking them up.

I also have begun talking to other neighbors and politely asking them to remain vigilant. We live next door on the other side to a cop so we at least have someone who could help immediately if need be. (While not mentioning who we think the culprit is. No need to start gossip.) I took the advice on not continuing trying to communicate with signs. We took the sign down.We also found a pretty decent camera that we are having rush delivered. We will not even bother trying to forewarn anyone this time, because that only proved to be assumed as a challenge. she will be back and when she comes, we will be ready for her. We are also pulling the idiot bluff and just going on about things as if nothing ever happened. It's only a matter of time.

At night, when the kids are in bed I normally have a breather on my front porch and quietly read a book. (Making sure not to look in the direction of her home or yard) If i feel her eyes burning my neck, I sit on the steps next to a massive bush that totally blocks her line of vision and that infuriates her. So then, she begins to blast a table saw in her garage. She just switches it on and off constantly. It normally begins around 10 pm and goes all night. Even during the day, the minute I set foot outside, she begins. She sometimes gets up at 6am and begins cutting the grass, which may not be too early for some, but I could tell the other neighbors weren't too pleased.

Just as one of you said, I have not been over extending myself to be nice to her. I simply pretend like no one lives next door to me when she comes outside. The very first thing she does whenever I see her is turn around and look at me or in my direction. It's only to try and get me to look at her and I absolutely refuse to give her what she wants. Secondly, I noticed how I was beginning to drive myself insane and if I ever expect anyone to understand and believe my story, then I need to keep my behavior superior. She is one of those types of crazies who people would never assume to have a nasty M.O. just like you see in crazy neighbor movies.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 4:27PM
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There are emotionally unstable homeowners & some with dementia, you may be dealing with that & there are no answers, avoid them as much as possible but not saying "Hi" might make them think you are "against them" . How old are they, 80's, 50's ,"old" means different things to young folks. If you can casually talk to couple of neighbors & remark about the lovely area etc & ask if most neighbors have lived there a long time. That way you aren't singling them out. Maybe they move often, maybe someone will mention something about them. Suppose you could find out when they moved next door through public records, that might give you idea as to how often they move or if they are probably going to be there until a nursing home is in their future. Relative had unbalanced neighbor(had been hospitalized for it several times, police took him away many times over yrs) Police told relative to always be on guard & that neighbor could go off the deep end anytime. Used a gun to shoot up neighborhood right before they left town aimed at roofs so holes up there & in AC units.., Nobody saw it happen but neighbor bragged about it. And AC's had to be repaired or replaced. Thought everyone was "going to kill me" Can't reason with folks like that. Area your kids play in should be fenced & might want to check arrest or criminal records to see if neighbors could be dangerous.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 4:41PM
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You sound like you have a whole different outlook from your original post, and I mean that in a good way. Sounds like you are doing the right things and you have your head screwed on a lot better than the Texas Tablesaw Torturer. Keep standing tall and the wheels will fall off their jalopy soon enough.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 6:15PM
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won't keep bothering you all with this. sorry

This post was edited by whokilledmyflowers89 on Thu, Jul 25, 13 at 13:54

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 1:43PM
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I agree she sounds completely crazy but I have to ask if your not as well for even noticing her behavior?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 2:06PM
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Actually, after reading this last post of yours, I think you are the one who sounds nutty.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 5:48PM
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Are you prescribed mood regulating medication?

Do you carry on conversations in a similar manner as your writing style?

Consider the possibility that you seem as strange to your neighbor as she seems strange to you. In reading your posts, it is evident that you posess some peculiar personality traits. Maybe she is a wierdo, too. However, from reading your anecdotes, it is impossible for a rational person to determine whose actually crazy. Give the lady a break. Some things are figments of your imagination. When you describe the emotions that the neighbor lady is feeling, you're narrating a tale. You're mixing fancy with facts. When you "observe" her every action as a copycat reaction to whatever you're doing, you seem to be suffering a delusional paranoia. You can't actually feel the burn of her looking at you.

Step away from the ring of conflict and try to look at it from an independent point of view. Rational people can do that.

It reminds me of the saying: "arguing with a fool can only prove there are two fools." Same thing goes for crazy people.

Be rational and take care of yourself.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2013 at 7:01PM
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How do I unsubscribe form this post? I am tired of hearing this story. It is petty and ridiculous, seems at least partly fantasy, partly mental illness. It was sort of interesting at first but now it is just sad.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 10:44AM
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Lol once again, who is forcing you to read this??? No one. I was just posting a follow up. When did i say "oh this is really bothering me??? I just said i've done everything humanely possible. What bearing on my life does imitation have on me? None. It's simple, Angie once again. Why do you keep coming here if you don't want to read anymore is MY question for you??? I'm still forever wondering why not only cant you stop yourself from reading but WRITING as well.....and yet people want to point fingers in this direction.....Lol

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 1:17PM
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Lol once again, who is forcing you to read this??? No one. I was just posting a follow up. When did i say "oh this is really bothering me??? I just said i've done everything humanely possible. What bearing on my life does imitation have on me? None. It's simple, Angie once again. Why do you keep coming here if you don't want to read anymore is MY question for you??? I'm still forever wondering why not only cant you stop yourself from reading but WRITING as well.....and yet people want to point fingers in this direction.....Lol

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 1:18PM
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Why do people have to make such snarky remarks to other people. Isn't this a forum where people can discuss different topics?!?!?!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 3:55PM
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"Why do people have to make such snarky remarks to other people."

It makes them feel better about there worthless lives. JMHO.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 7:31PM
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I don't know if you're still reading this thread whokilledmyflowers89, but your neighbor's behaviors sound like manifestations of a personality disorder. I know another poster mentioned Borderline Personality Disorder, but you might be dealing with someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Clearly, I don't really know what is motivating this person, but many of the things you describe are very familiar to someone with the unfortunate experience of dealing with NPD. The sabotage, the competition, sending a "flying monkey" to do the dirty work, the obvious and grandiose lies, even changing into clothes similar to yours are par for the course for someone with NPD. If it is NPD, the absurdity and audacity of their acts can make you feel, look and sound crazy and delusional yourself - just for mentioning their behaviors. They do things that are that unbelievable and bizarre. Sadly, they often pick a victim from whom they can get narcissistic supply but at the same time, work hard to appear completely normal to everyone else. It usually works, too. If this is the case, there is not much you can do other than setting very firm boundaries, like not engaging with them ever, installing cameras and calling the police when appropriate. Adhere to those boundaries at all times. Good luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: Common NPD Behaviors

This post was edited by TheRedHouse on Mon, Jul 29, 13 at 17:17

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 1:17PM
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To TheRedHouse, thank you for actually reading this and not feeding into other peoples' ignorance. The situation you described is exactly the situation we feel we are in. Not to say, there wasn't other great advice here, but your knowledge on this is greatly appreciated. We have never experienced anything like this before until we moved here. The link you included has been very informative and helpful as well! A little bit more of an understanding on this, is such a relief.

This post was edited by whokilledmyflowers89 on Mon, Jul 29, 13 at 16:21

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 4:07PM
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We had neighbors just like that --- only worse. They are mentally ill and nothing will fix them. Just like our former neighbors they will deny any wrongdoing and blame everything on you. We put up privacy fences, plantings and anything we could to separate ourselves from them, it worked to an extent and eventually we moved. We later found out from former owners of our home that they did the exact things to them. Hopefully, the camera will be a deterrent and there must be some laws in your community about noise after a certain hour. Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 11:40AM
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I feel so sad for you that you have had to deal with these crazy problems. Some one killing your flowers and cutting your yard light wires has a real problem. I think you are doing just what you should do, ignore her when she is outside, call the police when necessary and get a camera. I have a laptop with out an installed webcam, so I bought and external one with a cord. Lucky me, I had to use it to document vandalism, and it worked great because it has a setting for motion detection. Worked great. I won. You may think of a way to record the saw off and on , but need a way to prove it, like a video recorder with sound and time date stamp. I hope you will be able to document this craziness and get it resolved. Our homes are our castles, and I hope your kingdom is peaceful and serene for you soon. Good luck and God bless. Keep us posted, please.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 11:23AM
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Sweet Gum trees are a pain in the back side for sure. I assume those that are falling on your property are due to over hanging limbs - which you have the right to remove any tree limbs that hang over your property - at your cost of course - and your tree guys have to conduct their work from your property and not encroach on the neighbor's property - there is effectively a defined line from heaven to hell where you are well within your legal rights should you decide to do this - would at least solve the gum balls from collecting in your yard from the tree - won't stop them from shooting this over with a mower - or worse out of spite collecting them and throwing them over if the relationship is that toxic - but you can take care of the part the actual tree plays in this

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 1:45AM
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Typically if you are allowed by city ordinance to remove limbs, it must not damage the tree to the point of killing it. Whether or not this is actually the law in your locality, I would encourage you to take this into account anyway. It's the right thing to do.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2013 at 12:47PM
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