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Still Waters

'The Watcher' forces family to flee from home

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geraldnewfie

easy to figure out who it is, first off if letters is being dropped off in mailbox then put a camera viewing it, if letter is being mailed then tell post office to put a watch on this.

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Stubbly_Dooright

I find this quite creepy. I also find it hard to believe that if the house has been watched for decades, that this is the first time we hear about it? I can't beelieve thepolice are that inept as to not have caught someone after decades.

Exactly!

There is very little information in this article but I agree that something is fishy. 1.3 million is a large amount of money and there could be a lot of motivation to create a hoax like this. If it really is a criminal act, it's beyond stalking, it's terrorism - a very serious crime that would get the cop's attention. My gut tells me there's way more to this story than we're getting.

I admit, that there could be more on this. I also think that there is more that hasn't been said. I do strongly doubt the previous residents have anything to do with it. If they had, at least by now, with this as media news, at least they would have sold their story. (why isn't it on record that they reported it? I would have thought they would have considering how creepy and dangerous to them was)

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DieChecker

From OP link...

The family was so terrified by the ominous letters that they refused to move into their new home, located on 657 Boulevard in Westfield. The couple attempted to sell the house, but potential buyers were purportedly scared off.

It looks like it is in a generic neighborhood.

post-26883-0-72953700-1435606798_thumb.j

Appears house was built in 1905, so some idiot could have been watching for generations.

http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/657-Boulevard-Westfield-NJ-07090/40090611_zpid/

I'd say that the owners go to the county records and see who's lived near that house for the last 100 or so years. That would be the primary suspect in my opinion.

Besides assuming it is some real estate trick that is.

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Bavarian Raven

this is such a hoax!

Maybe not. Out neighbours wife and young daughters received several letters several years back claiming that "He" was going to rape, murder, etc them. The police looked into it but nothing ever came of the investigation or the threats.

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libstaK

Well, here's a thought. If the house was sold at auction, it could be chagrined losing bidder. He get's to scare the family out of the house and as a bonus the value drops to something more in his own price range. Or at the least he vents his frustration at missing out by messing with the new owners.

Just one of many many scenarios with the little info available ....

Well, here's a thought. If the house was sold at auction, it could be a jealous losing bidder. He get's to scare the family out of the house and as a bonus the value drops to something more in his own price range. Or at the least he vents his frustration at missing out by messing with the new owners.

Just one of many many scenarios with the little info available ....

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Leonardo

Well, here's a thought. If the house was sold at auction, it could be chagrined losing bidder. He get's to scare the family out of the house and as a bonus the value drops to something more in his own price range. Or at the least he vents his frustration at missing out by messing with the new owners.

Just one of many many scenarios with the little info available ....

Why would that person target the seller and broker in that case, libstaK? There is no benefit to such an act, as only the buyer needs to be 'scared off'.

I'm still inclined to consider the buyer is behind the letters, and it is a scam to defraud the sellers and/or brokers out of money.

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DieChecker

If you look a that neighborhood, and that house, it appears to be one among many. I think someone specifically trying to scare them out of that house to buy it is probably not right. I'm assuming there are probably comparable houses in that same neighborhood with little old ladies who would be much easier to scare.

Just my thought for the minute.

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libstaK

Why would that person target the seller and broker in that case, libstaK? There is no benefit to such an act, as only the buyer needs to be 'scared off'.

I'm still inclined to consider the buyer is behind the letters, and it is a scam to defraud the sellers and/or brokers out of money.

I thought the crux of the issue was that letters were being sent to the new owners which terrified them as the letters were stating details about the house and asking who would be sleeping in which bedroom etc?

Where does it state that the seller and broker were targeted ?

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Leonardo

I thought the crux of the issue was that letters were being sent to the new owners which terrified them as the letters were stating details about the house and asking who would be sleeping in which bedroom etc?

Where does it state that the seller and broker were targeted ?

From the article...

The couple alleged that the former owners did not warn them about the threats from "The Watcher.
They claim that the former owners knew of the threats and should have known of the strange stalker's claim of ownership of the home.
The first letter was received on June 5, 2014 — just three days after the family closed on their 1.3 million dollar home.

The buyers (plaintiffs) are accusing both the seller and the broker of "knowing the threat exists before closing on the sale" - but how could they?

They could only know, and be sued for knowing, if they had also received threatening letters prior to the close of sale. There has been no indication that the seller had received any such letters in the past (i.e. prior to them making a decision to sell), else they would undoubtedly have filed a complaint to the police themselves and the police have not made any statement that the case is historical.

If the seller had not been threatened prior to deciding to sell, then the letters' claims of 'historical stalking' are false. Then we are left with an unlikely scenario in which an opportunistic psycho suddenly decides to terrorise a family (the seller) only after they had already decided to sell their house. Not only that, but this opportunistic psycho becomes, in a very short space of time, remarkably well-informed about the prospective buyers and the house itself - even to knowing the bedroom layout.

This type of behaviour indicates, imo, one of the following:

1) Another prospective buyer who became obsessed with the house and unable to accept they failed to occupy it.

2) A person familiar with the house (or occupants) and is likewise obsessed with it (them).

3) The seller initiating a scam to force the buyer out, while the house price drops. Then they buy it back cheaper.

4) The buyer initiating a scam to force the seller/broker to effectively pay for the buyers purchase themselves.

As I said above, I discount the historical stalking hypothesis because of the lack of evidence supporting it. In the above scenarios, 3) is unlikely as it would expose the seller to lawsuit exactly as has happened, so the seller would lose money, not make it. I discount 2) because of the lack of evidence for any historical 'stalking' - obsession to that degree doesn't just evolve overnight. Scenario 1) is possible but unlikely, imo. It's a nice house but not extraordinary - nothing that seem to scream "become obsessed by me" - and as I said, that level of obsession is not so casual but usually the result of a long period of fascination.

Of all the scenarios I can imagine leading to such letters, it is the last that is most likely. The sellers - either because they can no longer afford the purchase or because of malicious fraud - are trying to either back out of a done deal, or scam the seller/broker into essentially purchasing the house for them.

Edited by Leonardo

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libstaK

From the article...

The buyers (plaintiffs) are accusing both the seller and the broker of "knowing the threat exists before closing on the sale" - but how could they?

They could only know, and be sued for knowing, if they had also received threatening letters prior to the close of sale. There has been no indication that the seller had received any such letters in the past (i.e. prior to them making a decision to sell), else they would undoubtedly have filed a complaint to the police themselves and the police have not made any statement that the case is historical.

If the seller had not been threatened prior to deciding to sell, then the letters' claims of 'historical stalking' are false. Then we are left with an unlikely scenario in which an opportunistic psycho suddenly decides to terrorise a family (the seller) only after they had already decided to sell their house. Not only that, but this opportunistic psycho becomes, in a very short space of time, remarkably well-informed about the prospective buyers and the house itself - even to knowing the bedroom layout.

This type of behaviour indicates, imo, one of the following:

1) Another prospective buyer who became obsessed with the house and unable to accept they failed to occupy it.

2) A person familiar with the house (or occupants) and is likewise obsessed with it (them).

3) The seller initiating a scam to force the buyer out, while the house price drops. Then they buy it back cheaper.

4) The buyer initiating a scam to force the seller/broker to effectively pay for the buyers purchase themselves.

Okay, my post again below .... so what was the debate about?

Well, here's a thought. If the house was sold at auction, it could be chagrined losing bidder. He get's to scare the family out of the house and as a bonus the value drops to something more in his own price range. Or at the least he vents his frustration at missing out by messing with the new owners.

Just one of many many scenarios with the little info available ....

Your response, which is in direct contradiction to your surmisal above where you do note it is possible that the buyer was a target to reduce the value of the property.

Why would that person target the seller and broker in that case, libstaK? There is no benefit to such an act, as only the buyer needs to be 'scared off'.

I'm still inclined to consider the buyer is behind the letters, and it is a scam to defraud the sellers and/or brokers out of money.

This is also a possibility as there is no information that letters prior to those received by the buyer actually exist or were sent.

Bottom line is that there is not enough flesh in the article itself to know for certain one way or another but we would hope the investigators would cover all these bases before coming to any conclusions.

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Leonardo

Okay, my post again below .... so what was the debate about?

Your response, which is in direct contradiction to your surmisal above where you do note it is possible that the buyer was a target to reduce the value of the property.

Yes, that scenario is possible but much more unlikely than what I consider the "likely scenario". I didn't make any contradiction, I just only spoke of what I considered the most likely situation.

This is also a possibility as there is no information that letters prior to those received by the buyer actually exist or were sent.

Bottom line is that there is not enough flesh in the article itself to know for certain one way or another but we would hope the investigators would cover all these bases before coming to any conclusions.

The police would not open an investigation unless there was something to investigate. Okay, we can't see any copies of the letters that the buyers allege were sent, but we have no reason to doubt those letters exist else the police would not open an investigation into the threats.

The claim that is truly in doubt, is that letters were also sent - prior to closing of the sale - to either the seller, the broker or both. That is what the buyer's suit hinges on - that the seller/broker had prior knowledge of the 'stalker' yet went ahead with the sale regardless. As I said, I find it unlikely someone targeting the buyer would also target the seller and/or broker, and I find it very unlikely the seller would be involved in sending the letters as the risk of loss is simply too great. The only party who it seems has reason to believe they might benefit (financially) from the threatening letters is the buyer.

That does not exclude there being some history of 'house-stalking', I just find it unlikely due to the lack of information there was any prior police investigation which, if the seller had been targeted previously, would undoubtedly have occurred.

This is a summation of my hypothesis:

  • The buyer seeks to purchase a house.
  • The buyer either never intends to pay the asking price, or finds themselves unable to meet their financial commitments as the closing date approaches.
  • The buyer hatches a plan to recoup their costs from the seller/broker by fraud.
  • The buyer sends letters to the seller/broker just prior to closing, so as to provide "evidence" for the fraud.
  • The seller/broker is confused by the letters, having had no prior threats or problems, and perhaps dismisses them as a hoax. But, and crucially, the buyer is not informed of the letters and the sale proceeds.
  • After closing, the buyers sends letters to themselves. This initiates the phase of the fraud where the buyer (after a period of time) lays suit against the seller claiming they had "prior knowledge of a historical threat". A police investigation into the letters starts.

Edited by Leonardo

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Justice please

Yes, that scenario is possible but much more unlikely than what I consider the "likely scenario". I didn't make any contradiction, I just only spoke of what I considered the most likely situation.

The police would not open an investigation unless there was something to investigate. Okay, we can't see any copies of the letters that the buyers allege were sent, but we have no reason to doubt those letters exist else the police would not open an investigation into the threats.

The claim that is truly in doubt, is that letters were also sent - prior to closing of the sale - to either the seller, the broker or both. That is what the buyer's suit hinges on - that the seller/broker had prior knowledge of the 'stalker' yet went ahead with the sale regardless. As I said, I find it unlikely someone targeting the buyer would also target the seller and/or broker, and I find it very unlikely the seller would be involved in sending the letters as the risk of loss is simply too great. The only party who it seems has reason to believe they might benefit (financially) from the threatening letters is the buyer.

That does not exclude there being some history of 'house-stalking', I just find it unlikely due to the lack of information there was any prior police investigation which, if the seller had been targeted previously, would undoubtedly have occurred.

This is a summation of my hypothesis:

  • The buyer seeks to purchase a house.
  • The buyer either never intends to pay the asking price, or finds themselves unable to meet their financial commitments as the closing date approaches.
  • The buyer hatches a plan to recoup their costs from the seller/broker by fraud.
  • The buyer sends letters to the seller/broker just prior to closing, so as to provide "evidence" for the fraud.
  • The seller/broker is confused by the letters, having had no prior threats or problems, and perhaps dismisses them as a hoax. But, and crucially, the buyer is not informed of the letters and the sale proceeds.
  • After closing, the buyers sends letters to themselves. This initiates the phase of the fraud where the buyer (after a period of time) lays suit against the seller claiming they had "prior knowledge of a historical threat". A police investigation into the letters starts.

One thought only why don't they act like they are going to tear it down. Maybe the person doing this will get real mad and do something to help the police find him. Obviusly this person wants this house because he talks about his family watching it for years. Their even might be a treasure their?

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captainstickman

Somewhat poorly written article but the writer at least went to the town and asked a bunch questions

"It's clear he thinks the new owners wrote the letters to themselves to get out of their million dollar mortgage"

http://gothamist.com/2015/07/31/the_watcher.php

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cerberusxp

Sounds to me like a paranoid neighbor that thinks possibly the family is an undercover operation. OR He just wants them to move out.

OR Like Leonardo purposes.

Edited by cerberusxp

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eydood

Thrilling story, but the whole thing stinks of a scam; perhaps the buys want out of the deal.

Or, similar to what someone else posted above, perhaps this is a way to scare off undesired new residence. I know I'd be terrified and would consider getting the heck out, myself

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LucidElement

oh man, this is crazy because its been going on for almost 5 years. Even though the family doesn't live there anymore its just strange that no one has caught him. Even with the FBI looking into it, it seems to come to a dead end.

The new tenants got a letter too that was given to the family who moved out.

This is an interesting mystery.

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Ozymandias

What a load of tosh! The Watcher claimed in his threatening letter: 'I am the rightful owner of the house'!!!! 

I don't know who is the stupidest, The Watcher, the current owners or the local police.

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