Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Stalker Congregants

were spotted at our church today!

For those of you just joining this blog, I need to give you some background information. Several years ago our church was infiltrated by con-artists. They were an older couple with a "Bless your heart" kind of attitude. They both dyed their hair with the same jet-black color and they were loud and outgoing. He claimed to be a former funeral director and she claimed to be a former officer in the Salvation Army. Our church had been struggling for years with low attendance and lack of participation, so when this couple started attending, they jumped right in and planned church dinners and get-togethers and socials. People loved them.

They told a story about an inheritance that was always "coming" to them. It kept getting held up for some reason or other. But when they got it, they said, they were going to buy things for people. They promised one woman a car. They promised to put a new roof on the church. They even told me they had bought the school building that was for sale on the corner of my subdivision for me so that I could start my own school. And yet, something always happened to these promises. The day after they told me they bought the school for me, the sale of the school WAS announced, but not to them, to local school district to start a pre-k.

Because their money was always "held-up", they always had to borrow money. They would tell a sob story to select people and these very wealthy and kind-hearted souls would "lend" them several thousand dollars. Only to this day the money has never been returned. We started to discover that they were opening accounts in the church name, saying they were the vice president (our church doesn't HAVE a vice president) and then letting the accounts fall into delinquency. Hubby started to question them and they started to spread rumors and lies about Hubby. They interfered with his authority and tried to have him removed from the church.

But the worst things were not any of these things. The worst things were what they did to me personally. I have a sixth sense about people. I always have. The day I met them I knew they were con-artists and I warned Hubby. He didn't believe me at first. They bought my daughter gifts, trying to win me over when I didn't warm up to them. But then strange things started happening to me at church. My stuff would start to disappear. CD's that I was supposed to sing to, Vacation Bible School materials or Sunday School lessons I was supposed to teach that day, little things. Or my song that I was supposed to sing that day in church that had been perfectly cued in the tape deck would be completely run to the end of the tape when it was time for me to sing during the service. Or the man would find me when I was alone and yell and scream at me and slam doors in my face, but deny it ever happened to others. They even stalked me at my house. E was 3 when this all started and they found out when her nap time was and called every single day at nap time, purposely trying to wake her up. They came to my door when I wouldn't answer the phone and knocked for 20 minutes, drove around the block and repeated several times a day.

Finally I did some sleuthing and found out the woman was using an alias and the couple had a long criminal history. The woman had spent 9 years in jail. At this point there's so much more I could write. We kept a file on everything they did to us andwhat we learned about them and the file is 53 pages long, but I won't bore you with any more detail. Anywho, this couple pulled a final straw and Hubby threw them out of the church. It took 6 months after and an off the books visit from a local sheriff friend to get them to leave ME alone before they finally seemed to be gone for good.

Until today. Today a church member said that she saw them driving very slowly by the outside of the church as she was walking in. They didn't say anything to her, but you have to wonder, what do they want? Maybe they just wanted to see if Hubby's name was still on the post outside. Maybe they were just there coincidentally. Or maybe, just maybe, they are planning to try to cause trouble again. But I'll tell you, if I see them, they won't get a second chance from me, I'll be calling 911 and having them removed from the premises. They messed with my sense of safety for too long. I will not go through that again. I played nice last time around, but that won't happen again! Pastor's wives get pissed off, too!

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

That is some scary stuff. You do have to wonder, why? What could you possibly want? Perhaps it will take another off the record reminder to get the picture. I'm glad you have that 6th sense, keep E close and your eyes open. Some people are just plain crazy.

My mom's church was in filtrated by a whole group who "lost" their previous church. They insinuated their group into every aspect of church life - Sunday School, Bible Study, Prayer & Worship. After about a year, they tried to stage a coup and get the Pastor removed and one of their own installed in his place. It was revealed that this was the second time they had done so within a congregation, down to trying to buy the land from the church as well. All the folks who has come to the church left en masse, and some of the congregants prior to their arrival left in disgust. It was bad. I saw one of the men, the leader, from this group at a charity luncheon for a local women's shelter which was so odd because I know what a control freak and mentally abusive husband he is. Ironic, no?

Again, keep your eyes open and E close. Perhaps a restraining order is in place?

/ dw

Anonymous said...

I meant what could THEY possibly want? DUH, sorry...

/ dw

Living in Muddy Waters said...

In regards to a restraining order- during the worst of this mess, I contacted a detective and he said that although he considers them dangerous and I have his personal cell phone number for emergencies, everything they have done is just short of legal requirements for a restraining order. In other words, they know the stalking laws and fly just under them.

Jeannie said...

Years ago, my husband got messed up with a con artist. The man was married to a very wonderful, highly respected television personality but was himself despicable.

On the upside, he claimed to be a real estate agent and did put us on to the home we still live in but had nothing to do with the sale. However, shortly after we moved in, he claimed on Friday that he had a deal closing on Monday and would give us a post-dated cheque for more if we could loan him $700 (not so very much but we had just moved and had a lot to do in the house) just for the weekend. Of course, the cheque bounced and he had excuses. We heard he had pulled this with others and phoned the cops on him. The hotel he was staying in (because his wife had booted him) was also after him for money. He phoned quoting bible verses trying to convince us to call off the cops but it was actually out of our hands anyway and we had no intention regardless. He was nailed for fraud and did time. A few years later, we received a cheque for $700 from an attorney. Christians should not be so trusting just because someone can say bless you and quote a little scripture. The "church" is full of scam artists. Look at a lot of the TV evangelists.

Wide Lawns said...

This is just terrifying and like what happened to my sister, but really, this is worse even. I'm so sorry. This sounds like something that would end up on Dateline. Did you ever hear about the scam where these con artists from LA kept promising people in churches across the country that they were giving out free cars? This reminded me of that.

Bubblewench said...

That's scary that they are 'back'. I hope they are just visiting and continue to keep driving. To another state.. or country.

Anonymous said...

OMG.

Have they started bugging you (personally) yet???

Lazy Charlitan...