By all accounts, Kathy Rowe was a very nice person before she was outbid for a Spanish-style bungalow in San Diego. She had even been named one of San Diego's "50 Best Mothers." But something in the 53-year-old stay-at-home mom snapped when she lost out on her $779K dream home, and she began to wage a sad and bizarre campaign against the young couple with a baby that ended up with the house. Rowe began her one-sided battle with annoying pranks—sending the family $1,200 of adult diapers and signing them up for magazine subscriptions— but the annoyances quickly escalated, becoming darker and more elaborate.
Using a false name, Rowe re-listed the home for sale on the internet; strangers began showing up at the couple's door. Then, neighbors were sent pamphlets saying that a sex offender had moved in at the address. Shortly thereafter, married women in the neighborhood received Valentine's Day cards purportedly from the young husband. But worst and creepiest of all, Rowe began posting the wife's photograph on casual sex websites with the headline, "Carmel Valley Freak Show. Come see me during the day while my husband is at work." Two men reportedly showed up at the house.
The family being harassed were understandably terrified. Luckily, Rowe was caught after police traced the sex ads to her IP address. She pleaded guilty to stalking the couple, and last month received what seems like a fairly light sentence: a year of house arrest and five years of probation. She also has to stay away from the couple, who have since embarked on self-defense classes, for a decade. Rowe is apparently still allowed to buy houses though, so San Diego house hunters be warned!