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Need advice about phone harrassment (long)

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by t-money, Jul 21, 2003.

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  1. t-money

    t-money Member

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    Howdy,

    Not sure if this is the right area to post this in, I’ll rely on the mod’s discretion. – Also – sorry for the long post.

    I need some advice on how to handle a situation that my family is in. Because there are a number of LEO’s here and a bunch of very smart, sane people, I could really use your advice. Let me first give you some history. This whole situation started about Last October. Here is the scoop:

    I was away on a week long backpacking trip last October and as I was coming home, I used my cell phone to call my wife and find out how the family was doing in my absence. She said something to the effect of “well, you know how something strange always happens when you are gone†and she proceeded to tell me that she had been receiving harassing phone calls. They started on Friday night about 11:00 pm, and the caller would call and then when my wife (Jen) picked up the phone, they would just sit there on the open line. After she would hang up, the person would call right back and then sit on the line. Jen said some times she could hear the television in the background. She used the *69 feature on the phone to get the number. So she could tell that it was the same number each time (no, it wasn’t blocked). Sometimes, the person would let the whole answering machine play, and then hang up. Then he would call right back. Well, even though we live in Golden, it scared her pretty good. (We also have a 3 year old little boy) .She isn’t real big on firearms, and doesn’t know much about them, but she said that if she had known what to do/where to find/how to load one of them/ she would have had one right by her. – as a side note, Jen is very practical (a structural engineer), and she isn’t prone to get overly excited about something, or too worked up. She finally ended up with one of my mountaineering ice axe’s by her bed.

    Well, it didn’t sit too well with me, but by the time I got back, the calling stopped. So we kind of forgot about it, and just chalked it up to some high school kid prank or something. Then one night about 2 weeks later, I came home from work and went directly into the bathroom to work on a plumbing problem that we had and sure enough, we got the phone calls. I mention the bathroom because I was out of sight of any of the window in the kitchen/living room/dining room, etc. When I picked up the phone, I kind of lost it, and told the silent caller that in no uncertain terms that if he continued to harass us, he’d be suffering an acute case of lead poisoning. (I know, very bad, I shouldn’t have fanned the flames, but I’m very much the kind of person that when my family is threatened, I go into cornered animal mode)

    That night we called the police. They came over, took a report, and said that they would call this ‘caller’ and tell them to stop. The police asked us if we had any enemies. I said no. I pretty much live peaceably with everyone. I teach Sunday School at Church, I don’t have any shady business practices, nothing like that. Jen is in school to get her masters in education and wants to work with lower income children. So for the most part, we do our best to be good members of society. We guessed that this person got our number from a ‘for rent’ flyer from the front of our house. Our home is a duplex, and we had the front unit for rent and the flyer included our home telephone number. I’m guessing that this person saw my wife outside, saw the flyer, and sort of put 2 and 2 together (just a guess).

    All seemed fine until a couple of weeks later when I was out of town for a week long conference. Then the calls started again. We seemed to notice that when I was home, we never got a call. But when it was my wife at home, that’s when the calls were coming in. They eventually got more brazen, and they would happen if I wasn’t home by 5:30-6:00 at night. We called the police again, and they said that they had no record of the incident (even though I was given a case number). Well, with the entire run around, etc, it soon stretched out to February/March (and yes, the calls continued).

    Finally, we were told to call the phone company. The phone company started ‘trapping’ this guys phone calls (to us), and they sent him a letter telling him to knock it off. The phone company along with the police gave us his name, and asked us if we had ever heard of the guy (nope). He apparently told the phone company that he thinks his computer is doing the calling and asked the phone company to release our name to him, so he could tell what is happening. I told the phone company that in no uncertain terms were they to release our name to him. It was his problem, not ours. Plus, I work in the computer field. I can tell you one thing for certain: That’s no modem that’s calling us. Even if it was a modem, why is it late at night, usually when I’m not home? He was told that if he called more than 3 times after receiving the letter, he would have his phone disconnected. Well, he called the magic three times, and that was the last we heard of it (this was approximately last April). . . . until last Friday night. 11:30pm. I answered the phone, *69’d it and sure enough. He’s baaaaack. The rule seems to be that when he calls, if I answer, we get one call. If Jen answers, he calls back, then he calls and calls and calls, etc. It’s like he’s trying to scare her. And for the most part, he’s doing a good job. I used to believe that he was watching the house, and maybe he was at the beginning, but now it seems as if he calls, and if he gets me, that’s where the calls end.



    Why don’t we change our number? We both sort of think that is like turning up your radio when you have bad engine noise coming from your car. Our number is listed because we often have friends that live out of town and occasionally have to ‘look us up’ get back in touch with us. Plus, it doesn’t change the fact that this guy is out there, doing this sort of thing. I guess I’ll call the phone company and get this started again, but I’d like to hear your ideas. The police can’t really do much. Because my wife is expecting in November, I will be taking no backpacking trips at least until next spring, so I’m around. I just like to bounce this off you guys and see what you think of the situation. I’ll be bouncing back into this forum as much as I can.


    Cheers!
    Tracy
     
  2. Zedicus

    Zedicus Member

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    Well, Having various Quallifications in Telecoms systems and Electronic Engeneering, as well as being a total Computer nut I can Say with 100% Certanty that "Computers Cannot Call People!" It is Impossable Unless you Use a Phone dialing Program that Requires the user to physicaly type in the number or select it from a list and click a dial button.

    However on the Legal side of thing's I'm Unfortunitly Not the guy to ask...
     
  3. spacemanspiff

    spacemanspiff Senior Member

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    if they were able to tell you his name, have you tried doing a lookup to get his number, and address? sometimes it is best to have as much information as possible about potential enemies, and as long as phone numbers remain listed and www.anywho.com is up and running, couldnt hurt to cover all your bases.

    does your phone company allow that number to be blocked from calling you?

    i hope by now your wife is proficient with the home defense weapons? does she carry?
     
  4. Justin

    Justin Moderator Staff Member

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    You might use one of the reverse phonebooks on the internet to look up his home address and name (if you don't already have it.)
    Then go find a lawyer.
    The bigger and meaner the better. Have the lawyer send him some sort of official looking document saying you'll sue him for harrassment or some such.
    Continue to report it to the cops.
    Make a log of every time he calls.
    You might also start using an answering machine to screen your calls.
    Depending on how open she is to the idea, your wife might want to start carrying and practicing with a handgun.
     
  5. Powderman

    Powderman Member

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    Don't know about CO State law, but in Washington.....(and it should not be too different there)

    1. Since you have the guy's name, subpoena the phone company to get the address.

    2. Contact the police for your jurisdiction, and file charges of harassment, and possibly malicious mischief. This is for starters.

    3. File for an Order of Protection against the jerk. He contacts you after the Order has been served--bingo, instant felony.

    4. If you have friends out of town, and you want to stay in contact with them, do so. BUT CHANGE YOUR PHONE NUMBER.

    5. When the ex parte restraining order expires, you will be required to appear in court to show cause why the temp order of protection should be made permanent. You need to go to court, because you have to talk to the judge. You also need to know what this guy looks like.

    6. If you don't already, CCW. Ensure that your wife at least has access to a serviceable firearm with good commercial ammunition. If she does not like to shoot, fine--familiarize her with it. If she balks at it, remind her that you have a child on the way, and that while you are gone she is the last line of defense between whoever, her, and your child.

    7. Stay alert, and keep your eyes peeled. If this guy shows his face again, let the police know IMMEDIATELY.

    8. Take charge of your own life, and good health to your family. Stay safe.
     
  6. capnrik

    capnrik Member

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    What's his number?
     
  7. Baba Louie

    Baba Louie Member

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    There's the legal "High Road" method and then there's Plan B.

    Restraining order. If you know who, phone number and have address, go see a legal beagle and a judge.

    Then have Plan B standing by bedstead or one on you (and her???). Have your sweetheart know and be able to execute (poor choice of wording there) her part of Plan B. Specially if a baby is gonna be in the picture. Specially if you're not home sometimes.

    Make sure all your goodies are locked safely away anyway.

    Make sure that John Law has all this on a piece of paper/computer file down at the local station for proper paper trail...

    Change your number please or add a second unlisted line... please. Hook your fax up to the old number, do something with that number.

    You don't need the grief and neither does the caller.

    Should you confront him again over phone or in person, do not threaten him. Explain the facts of life calmly and without mentioning any use of force.

    Oh, yeah, the really good news is...
    Congratulations! Dad.
    Enjoy your new kid.

    Adios
     
  8. Kamicosmos

    Kamicosmos Member

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    My parents went through this exact problem in the eighty's. My dad was working nights. He would leave work at 11pm. Precisicely at 11:05 the phone would ring, and it was either silence or really disturbing muttering and noises. My mom quit answering the phone, and I don't think she told my dad about it. Anyways, one time my dad got injured or had car trouble or something (i was ten, I don't remember) but he called and called all night, and mom was ignoring the phone since she thought it was the caller. Dad finally arrived along with several police cruisers.

    We changed our number to a silent one for several years, while the phone company and police did the same thing about tracing calls to our main number, which the police and phone company held for us. I don't know what happened, but we eventually started using our original number (which my parents had for about 15 years before this, and still have it today, nearly 30 years!!) and have never had a problem since...

    I'll ask my mom what all happened and post back.
     
  9. spacemanspiff

    spacemanspiff Senior Member

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    his name, address and phone number are all free game, right? as long as he is listed? put his number in a personals ad.

    :evil:
     
  10. t-money

    t-money Member

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    Thanks guys for the response. I do have his name and the street which he lives on and of course, his number. But the police really don't see why we are getting so worked up about this.

    It's really tempting to go by his house or see what he is doing, but I'm worried that if he recognizes me (distinct possiblity), that this may escalate the situation. I already messed up by showing my cards when I told him I'll blow his head off if he comes near my family. On a side note, when I told the officer responding what I said, he was kind of like "Well, I sure don't blame you"

    What kind of a loser harrasses a Mother with a 2 1/2 year old toddler? That's what blows my mind. The trick is that with a kid who is very energetic, that I can't just stash a loaded pistol on my nightstand. So even that situation gives me trouble. On the up side, we have 2 big labs who don't like people coming to the house late at night.

    Thanks for the congrats with the new baby! You guys are the greatest!
     
  11. BryanP

    BryanP Member

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    Assuming your local telco offers these services I would

    a) Turn on the service that won't allow calls that block caller ID to come through.

    b) Once you have the phone # have the telco block that # so that it cannot call your home.

    Yes, he can go to the trouble of using pay phones & cell phones & such but if you can make it inconvenient for him he may give up.

    No, these aren't what I would want to do, (what I'd want to do would land me in jail) but they're simple and practical.
     
  12. 45R

    45R Member

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    One of my family members had that problem several years back at there workplace. Some guy kept calling and calling and kept up the phone harassment.

    A Police Report was filed with a report from the phone company. Charges were pressed against the guy for harrassment.

    Wish that was the same for your case............find a supervisor at that PD station. The phone company has the name of the person. It shouldnt be rocket science for whoever is in charge of your case.
     
  13. Psssniper

    Psssniper Member

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    Keep it legal.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 21, 2003
  14. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    One thing about a restraining order, it tells the person who and where. So, in essence, the perpetrator knows who you and and where you are and your number. Heck, if he only calls when you're out, then he already knows where you are anyway. I'd get the restraining order like BabaLouie suggested. It's free and courtesy of your district attorney.

    Now, if it continues and is proven to be the same jerk, then it's a violation of that order (he explains before the court) and grounds for a suit (intentional infliction of emotional distress perhaps besides an invasion of privacy). NB: legal rights, both in criminal & civil courts varies with your state. Check first.
     
  15. HBK

    HBK member

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    You've already been given a lot of good advice on here, and mine would be similar to Powderman's. Especiallly the change your phone number part. I think your wife should DEFINATLEY be schooled in the art of self-defense with a firearm, a training class would be a good idea. As far as leaving a gun in the night stand, I know you can't because of the kids, but there are extremely small gun safes made to hold one pistol, you just work a code on top with your fingers to open it, (makes it easy to do in the dark). I would say get one of those and put it on the nightstand with your chosen weapon cocked and locked.
    As far as paying him a visit, if that was happening to me and I had the information you have, if I lived where I grew up and had my buddies around, I would definately be tempted to pay him a visit and maybe give him a blanket party. Alone, I don't know. It seems like asking for trouble in a way. 100 years ago, you could probably have killed the guy for what he's doing, now it would just make you look bad in the eyes of the court. As my favorite principal used to say, "Never wrestle with a pig, you both get dirty and the pig likes it."
    Good luck with the situation. The information you posted is quite concerning and you should definately take some of these suggestions to keep your family safe, especially the kids. And the wife. And yourself.

    PS-It might be important to remember the role of the police. THey are more responders than preventers. They often arrive after the fact and collect evidence. It's your job to protect yourself and your loved ones, but you probably already know that.
     
  16. digex

    digex Member

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    First of all, Congrats on the new arrival. I'm a lot like you I think, I'm VERY protective of my family. You should definitely follow the advice of Powderman to start with. I wouldn't necessarily confront him about it unless the situation became very serious. This can possible cause legal problems. If it does become so serious that you feel you need to confront him, make sure you don't get in over your head. Your family needs you and you can't help them if some freak smokes you. Be prepared, and always be watchful. I'm not a paranoid freak (although I may sound like one), but when it comes to my family, I'll go to DRASTIC measures to ensure their safety (that's already been proven).
    Good luck, and take care.
    Tommy
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 21, 2003
  17. Sylvilagus Aquaticus

    Sylvilagus Aquaticus Member

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    I had a similar problem back in the 80's when some loser kept calling my (now ex) wife when I was away from the house. I installed a recording device to capture the conversation (or sometimes lack of) because in Texas that's legal to do as long as one side of the conversation knows it is being recorded. I managed to intercept a few of his calls because of changes in my work schedule and have a little 'discussion' with the troll about it. The telephone company did get involved, his number was traced- he was calling from his parents' home- and I never did establish how he came to obtain my home phone number as it was both unlisted and unpublished. He seemed to have much more interest in getting my wife on the phone than me, of course. I had a long discussion with a couple of friends of mine who were detectives in our local PD, officially, of course. Got his parent's address, and both they and a good friend who is a Texas Ranger went out to the location and had a long heart to heart with the loser and his elderly parents. Now this Ranger is one who I've seen make grown, strong men cry during an interrogation and I'd have loved to been a fly on the wall during that little chat.

    Long story short- it ended up resolving itself to my satisfaction. The troll ended up taking a long walk off a short pier one day during a drinking binge in Oklahoma and discovered he couldn't hold his breath for the 9 hours it took for the rescue squad to fish him out. No more phone calls, no more problems.

    Maybe your problem will resolve itself soon.

    Regards,
    Rabbit.
     
  18. Waitone

    Waitone Member

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    Sounds like stalking to me.

    I'd be leaving a thick paper trail with local LE. I'd be consulting an attorney to see what the law really says, not what LE says it says.

    You need to do it by the numbers because you and your family will catch the blowback if something should go wrong.

    People who stalk others have deep seated issues that will not go away with a forthright and unambigious discussion.

    You gotta nut on your hands. Deal with the situation on the basis of what it is, not what you wish it to be.
     
  19. Abenaki

    Abenaki Member

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    I don't know the laws of the state that you live in.

    My wife is a Victims Advocate here in California.
    She writes restraining orders and goes to court with victims and things like that.

    In California, you can get a restraining order......and since your the victim,
    you can have the courts make him pay for it. You can also have his guns taken away. You need to find out your rights in the state that you live in.

    You need to get a restraining order
    Keep alog book next to the phone and document every phone call.
    Get a record from the Phone Company of every call he has made to your house. Document every thing! Even every time you call the law. Also get the name and badge number of the LEO that you deal with.
    You need this in case the crap hits the fan.......and you have to use force to defend your family.

    Also......stop the talk about doing.....or wanting to do this guy physical harm. You don't want it coming back to harm you incase things get ugly.

    Abenaki

    RunninBall
     
  20. Devonai

    Devonai Member

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    I have caller ID, and I never answer the phone for a blocked or unknown caller. Only very occasionally does this cause me to miss a legitimate call, as all my friends and creditors ID's come up on the screen.

    I would strongly advise against a personal visit to this guy's house. If something goes terribly wrong, the law won't look favorably on your actions.
     
  21. Justin

    Justin Moderator Staff Member

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    Folks, let's keep this discussion constrained to the options available to T-money that are legal.:scrutiny:
     
  22. Sven

    Sven Senior Member

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    Things that come to mind:

    1) get serious about home security, overall
    2) get serious about safe CCW around the house (or wife, esp.)
    3) have phone company block calls from IT's number
    4) have caller ID box block calls from it's number
    5) begin journal documenting exact times and dates for everything going on. make sure this is shared, or at least keep a copy at work
    6) share information with neighbors, if an appropriate forum is available (ie, homeowners association).

    most importantly:

    7) Always stay aware of what is going on around you, whenever possible. Condition 'white' is not a luxury you can afford.

    -From http://members.aol.com/braxton1/bookpreview.html
     
  23. Majic

    Majic Member

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    I can't speak for your state of residence, but here in Virginia you report the issue to the phone company. If it persists then the party will be charged with a misdermeanor. This action is done by the phone company.
     
  24. BB93YJ

    BB93YJ Member

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    A good friend of mine is a Private Investigator that I've had a chance to ride with when he was doing surviellance on different people. Real interesting experience.

    Why not hire a P.I. to stake out, and trail your tormentor, and have him do it in such a manner as to get noticed. Have him get a few pictures of the creep while he's at it.

    Nothing illegal about that. Might spook the pervert, might not. Still, you'd get some pictures to see who/what you're up against. He might get the message and leave you alone.

    Couldn't hurt, and might actually help. Like I said, you need to know what he looks like for you and your family's safety.

    Congrats on the new addition.
     
  25. 444

    444 Member

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    I know this is simplistic and obvious, but I NEVER answer my phone unless the caller ID gives me a name of someone I know. No exceptions. I get a dozen phone calls a day, 10 of them are some useless jerk trying to sell me something. I have no interest in talking to them. My ex-wife was a total slave to the phone. When it rang, she would stop whatever she was doing instantly to answer it. This got on my nerves to no end. How many calls do you get that are truely important ? How many calls do you get that demand your immediate attention and a few seconds delay would make all the difference ?
    If it wasn't for the internet (I have no option for any kind of broadband connection in Pahrump), I wouldn't have a landline phone. It is nothing but a source of aggrevation.
     
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