27 Mar How To Catch A Stalker 101: That One Time We Had A Stakeout And Caught The Bad Guy
My baby sister, Zari, is one of the few people in the world who will go along with any stupid idea I come up with. She has always been my go to let’s-do-something-that-makes-no-sense-and-we-will-probably-regret person (to learn more about Zari click here). Even though our hare-brained ideas normally end in failure and hysterical laughter, there are some very rare occasions that we are actually successfully. Like the time we had a stake out to catch a stalker. I know you have questions, so let me explain.
My sisters and I have a paranoid mom and an overly protective father who was once a police officer and served time in the military. They raised us to be extremely cautious, vigilant and mindful of our surroundings and the people around us at all times. They would also tell us terrifying true stories of child abductions, so that we never let our guard down when they weren’t around to protect us. Extreme? Maybe. Effective? Hell yeah.
All of the precautionary measures my parents took to ensure our safety, left my sisters and I overly suspicious and distrusting of almost everyone we came in contact with. To this day, whenever a stranger approaches me, I assume they have some ulterior motive. Like kidnap or murder. I’ve never accepted a drink from any man because I’ve always assumed the drink would be laced with drugs. And then I would be kidnapped and murdered. I call my husband at least three times a week insisting that someone is following me home. To kidnap and then murder me.
After almost always thinking the worst of everyone (thanks a lot mom and dad) and never being correct, it was quite a shock when something actually happened. For the first time in my entire life, I had a stalker. I use the term “stalker” because that’s all we caught him doing- stalking. However, he could’ve most certainly had other plans that were derailed by our discovery of his obsession. Thankfully, our parents had provided us with the tools to make sure that the motherfucker never came back again.
Side note: Bonnie, our older sister, is just as paranoid as Zari and I. The difference is Bonnie will not do anything without rhyme or reason. If it doesn’t make sense, she simply won’t do it. Hence the reason why Zari and I were always performing idiotic deeds as a pair.
It was the winter of 2009 and I was living at home with my parents. My mom and dad were out-of-town and Bonnie had her own place, so it was just me, Zari, my son CJ and our nanny, Maria. Yes, all of us were grown AF and our nanny was still living with us. In our defense, Maria had been with us since I was 4 years old, so she had become a part of my family; more like our grandmother. She was really there because we loved her so very much and refused to let her go. Besides, Zari was still in high school and my parents worked late nights.
Someone needed to be there to make sure she didn’t burn the house down.
Any who, at this point in time, I was working a law firm in D.C. Every day I would drive to the metro station, take the metro to D.C, go to work, take the metro back to the station and drive home. The same time, each day. One day, I was driving home from the metro and noticed a car behind me, driving very close to me and making the same exact turns I was making. Now, whenever I feel someone is following me, I make a ton of random turns and U-turns to determine if I am indeed being followed. Normally it’s always a dud and I just look like a psychopathic woman who can’t drive. But this time, the person kept up for about two minutes before taking another route.
Most people would brush it off as a sheer coincidence, but when I came home and told Zari it aroused her suspicions as well. There was nothing I could do but remain ever vigilant and continue to be cautious of my surroundings.
Two days later, I noticed a different car riding closely behind me and making the very same erratic turns. Just as I had experienced days prior. This time, they kept it up for about four minutes. I was scared that if I drove home they would follow me and know where I lived, so I had to think quickly. All of the sudden, I saw a police car at a gas station. I swerved off and pulled up right alongside the cop car. Sure enough, the car did not follow me into the gas station. By now, I was feeling rather confident that I was indeed being followed.
I told Zari everything as soon as I got home. Now, she was also convinced that I was indeed being followed. We knew we had to come up with a plan. But what could we do? It’s not like I could call the police and report that a person might be stalking and following me home with absolutely no proof. To avoid looking like a buffoon at the police department, I decided to take a break from riding the metro. This seemed like the safest and most logical plan of action at the time.
During this time, I was driving a Chevy Tahoe that had a few problems with the alarm. Anytime the door was opened, the car alarm would go off. I would have to get inside the car and turn it on just to silence the alarm. This went on for about five months because I was too damn cheap to get it repaired.
One Friday night, about one week after the creepy car incident, Zari and I decided to watch a six-hour marathon of unsolved mysteries. We decided to call it a night and finally went to bed around 1 am. About 15 minutes after I fell asleep, my car alarm randomly went off. I popped up, scared shitless. Maria came to my room and told me that the wind was pretty rough and that’s what most likely what triggered the alarm. She urged me to immediately turn off the alarm as it would disturb the neighbors.
Even though I was a bit skeptical, I agreed to go outside and turn it off. I grabbed a butcher knife to take with me for precautionary measures (Mama ain’t raise no fool). I went outside, (with Zari and Maria watching me from the door) disarmed the alarm and walked back inside. Crisis averted. Or so we thought.
The next night, around 12:30 am, the alarm went off again. This time there was no wind. It was still AF outside. I just knew someone was trying to lure me outside to- you guessed it- kidnap and murder me. Viciously. Before I could go tell Zari of my suspicions, she was already knocking at my room door.
Zari: Someone is fucking with you.
Me: I know.
Zari: What are we gonna do?
Me: We’re gonna catch that mother fucker.
This was all said in very dramatic fashion, as if there were cameras recording us for a major thriller film.
At this point, Maria was yelling at us to turn off the alarm and our neighbor’s lights were turning on. Before we could devise a plan to catch the criminal, we had to turn off the alarm.
Maria was very old and didn’t have the legs to outrun a creeper, so Zari and I decided it would be safest if we both went out together. Zari grabbed a drapery rod and I grabbed my trusty dusty butcher knife. If someone was out there trying to kill me, we were going to get them first.
We walked out, back to back, checking behind every bush as we walked down the driveway to my car. Again, Maria watched from the door, shaking her head at us because we looked like paranoid fools.
One very valuable lesson my parents taught us, was to always check under the car and in the back seats before getting in. So we did. While remaining back to back. We looked like two drunk, uncoordinated, Siamese twins trying to pick up a penny off the floor. When we saw that it was all clear, I got in the car, and disarmed the alarm. Then we RAN back into the house.
Although, we didn’t find anyone outside, my gut knew someone was there watching us. I couldn’t go back to sleep. I had enough. Clearly someone was toying with me and it was time to take matters into my own hands. The next night, we would be ready.
Side note: All of the following pictures are from our actual stake out. It’s like past Katryce knew that future Katryce would need proof of this incident.
Zari and I decided to have stake out in my mother’s room. Her bedroom window had a clear view of the driveway, so it was the ideal location for our investigation. We planned on keeping a look out all night until we caught the perp. We found a pair of binoculars that came with a spy kit someone had given us years ago and my mom’s old camera. That camera was broken, but the zoom still worked. Now that we had the perfect spy tools, we needed to figure out what we would do when we actually spotted the creep.
My father has taught my sisters and I a lot about self-defense. He taught us how to disarm a gunman, how to escape if we were to ever be constrained and most importantly how to hit specific pressure points that will immediately render someone unconscious. These were things we were taught in passing, so it’s not like we were pros; however Zari and I felt as though we knew more than enough. We decided that when we spotted the culprit, we would detain him and turn him into the police ourselves.
Now, we needed to acquire some defense weaponry. At this point, Maria thought we were bat shit crazy and that I just had a defective car alarm. She wouldn’t even let us near the knives anymore. That was probably a good call because Zari and I get spooked very easily. It would’ve been no surprise if we had gotten startled and accidentally stab one another or stab ourselves. We had to get creative. We searched around the house for items that could be used in combat. Here’s what we came up with:
– A curtain rod: to spear someone like a kabob
– Perfect Pushups: to hold in your hand and use as boxing gloves
– A workout band: to tie the suspect up with
– A workout ball: – to throw at the assailant as a distraction
– A giant bazooka nerf gun- for dramatic effect
– A big, metal backscratcher- To clobber the perpetrator
– And a pull up bar that hung from the door: also to clobber the perpetrator
You will notice, in the picture, a feather duster. Zari insisted that we have it in case we needed to “tickle him to death”. She’s not the brightest crayon in the box.
All day we practiced our “moves” and rehearsed our plan. The sun set and it was time for action. We threw on all black outfits, utility belts (aka Forever 21 belts) and even smudged black liner underneath our eyes for dramatic effect. We were ready.
We turned off all the lights in the house with the exception of my mother’s (because we’re afraid of the dark). We planned to take sleep shifts, so that one could watch while the other napped and vice versa. You know. Like in the movies.
Hours passed and we had no action. It was now 4 am and pouring rain outside, so we figured the creeper wasn’t coming. We decided to call it a night and hit the hay. Two minutes after cutting off the lights, the mother fucking car alarm went off. Now I know we talked all this shit earlier, but that was when we thought we would at least know where this guy was hiding. Now, we had no clue where he was and could be blindsided. But it didn’t matter. We were ready for war.
We threw on our Timberland boots, grabbed our weapons and stormed outside. It was go time.
Side note: I have never been a confrontational or violent person. However, at this time, I truly felt like someone was trying to murder me so I turned into a totally different person. Besides, I had just watched Set It Off, so I was feeling like a bad ass.
Me: Alright you little mother fucker! It’s time to die, Bitch!
Zari: I’m gonna kiiiiiilllllllllll youuuuuuu!
We ran outside, Maria watching us from the door (shaking her head in shame) and start going crazy. Zari was forcefully jabbing her “spear” (aka curtain rod) in all the bushes to impale anyone hiding in the shrubbery, while I held the backscratcher in my hands like a baseball bat, Beyoncé Lemonade style, ready to beat some ass.
Rain was dripping down our faces as we inspected every nook and cranny around the house and screamed outrageous, almost psychotic, threats from the top of our lungs. We spent about five minutes searching for this guy and came up with nothing. We were even tempted to check some of the cars parked along the street, but Maria called us inside because we were “embarrassing her and looked like idiots.” I got in my car, disarmed the alarm and went back inside.
I just didn’t understand. Where was the bad guy? How could he have gotten away so fast? Was it really just an alarm malfunction? Damn. I was ready to beat some ass. We hung our heads in shame and walked upstairs.
Before we could make it to our bedrooms, we heard erratic banging at our front door. Oh shit. The killer is here. We immediately hurried down the stairs, jumping steps and adjusting our “utility belts”. It was clobberin’ time. Maria never admitted it, but we could tell by her face that this time she was a little shook.
We cautiously walked up to the door, but Maria pushed us out-of-the-way so she could look out the window and see who was there. It was very dark and all we could make out was that it was a person with a hood on. Real “I Know What You Did Last Summer” like. All the tough shit went out the window. FUCK THAT. I wasn’t opening that door. I was going to call the cops.
The banging intensified and the doorbell started ringing rapidly. Whoever it was really wanted us to answer, but there was no way in hell.
Then we heard. “It’s me! Sara! From next door!” Sarah lived two houses down in our cul-de-sac. My father would speak to Sara and her husband often, so we knew she could be trusted. Just in case I was wrong, I held my “weapon” firmly behind my back.
Maria opened the door.
Sara: Thank goodness you’re okay!
Sara: When we heard you all screaming outside, we went to the window to make sure everything was okay. There was a man hiding behind that car on the street. He was creeping around the side and lunging towards you. When Maria walked outside, he laid down on the ground and slid underneath the car. My husband went outside, startled the man and he ran. So we called the police. We’ve seen a man walking around the cul-de-sac quite a few times over the past few days and thought it was very odd. I’m pretty sure that was him.
Me: Thank you so much and please thank your husband as well.
Sara ran back to her house and I closed the door in complete and utter disbelief.
Wait a minute. Wait one got’ damn minute. Are you telling me, that with all of the fucking threats Zari and I made while running around the front of the house like a pair of wild banshees, this loser only felt threatened when Maria, a sixty year old woman in a floral print, pink night-gown and white Toms, walked outside?
This is bullshit.
The next day we found out the man had been caught and arrested. There were a string of car thefts in our neighborhood that month and I’m guessing the police assumed he was the crook. To this day I don’t believe he was a car theft because it would make no sense for someone to repeatedly return to a car with a gimpy alarm. If he was there to steal my car, why was he creeping around the car to reach me? And I can’t explain how but I KNOW in my gut that this was the same man who was following me just a week before. So, he will forever go down in our books as the Lanham Stalker.
I’m sure he wasn’t detained for too long since he technically wasn’t caught doing anything wrong, nonetheless, if it wasn’t for Zari and I screaming like wild apes in the middle of the night, my neighbors would’ve never saw him and called the cops.
In the end, our hare-brained idea worked. We caught the bad guy. And the cul-de-sac praised us as heroes. Okay okay, that last part didn’t happen.
What crazy adventures do you have with your siblings?!