— Many Americans can share a story about a pesky neighbor. But a White Bear Lake, Minn. family says they can top almost anyone’s horror story.
Kim and Greg Hoffman live on a quiet, tree-lined cul-de-sac with their young daughters, where just across the street is a woman they call the “neighbor from hell.”
The family has successfully carried out restraining orders against Lori Christensen, 49, whose house sits directly across from their front yard. The Hoffman family said that in an effort to avoid Christensen they have become prisoners in their own backyard. They have accused Christensen of multiple offenses, including aggravated stalking.
Kim Hoffman told NBC’s Craig Melvin the harassment began with obscenities, and that soon, Christensen “just started calling me names, swearing at me. Very loud. Many people in the neighborhood could hear it.” Her husband Greg said, “Many people say, ‘Oh we've got a neighbor just like that,’ and I say no you don't. This is different.”
Prosecutors filed court documents this month listing even more claims of alleged harassment from Christensen, including “verbal tirades” aimed at the Hoffmans' children. According to Kim Hoffman, her neighbor “likes to intimidate them with different gestures or words.”
In 2011, prosecutors say Christensen pled guilty and served more than a month in jail for a felony violation over a restraining order obtained by the Hoffmans. The year before, Christensen pled guilty to two related misdemeanors.
Kim Hoffman, a recovering alcoholic who has been sober for three years, said the battle has brought her family closer, though Hoffman’s recovery has apparently been a target for Christensen. A home video taken by the Hoffman family shows a large hand-painted sign Christensen allegedly posted on her garage door that reads, "I saw mommy kissing a breathalyzer.” Other signs have said “Get a life,” and “The guilty talk the loudest.”
Christensen has also allegedly followed Kim Hoffman in her car, which makes Kim feel like she’s “under constant surveillance.”
The police are familiar with the feuding neighbors. Local police captain Randy Johnson said of the harassment, “It almost had a life of its own and it kept growing and growing and nobody really could put a finger on what was the initiator.” The police said that they have visited Christensen’s home more than 40 times in the last 2 years. Most visits stemmed from calls made by the Hoffman family.
Christensen, who works as an executive assistant and is a single mother with one daughter, could not be reached for comment by TODAY. She told a local television station earlier this year, “I had a psychological evaluation and they said if I were to have been a man this would not have been happening but because I'm a single female...I have a very good job, I have the biggest house in the neighborhood.”
Christensen is scheduled in court Wednesday for a hearing on charges she violated her probation by allegedly disobeying a harassment restraining order. District Judge George Stephenson, who oversees the case, ordered Christensen to stay away from her house in a hearing Tuesday. She was allowed to pick up her dogs and some personal items with a police escort. He told her she could not speak to authorities about the Hoffmans — even if their house was on fire. "You will not be the one to call 911 to report it," he said.
Greg Hoffman said Christensen's actions will have a lasting impact. “I'd like to say to her, ‘How dare you leave the scars that you left on my daughters?" he told TODAY. "'How dare you to have destroyed an entire neighborhood?’”