Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Help Me Howard: Voodoo
Some people hang out Christmas lights, others place a Menorah in the window. And still, some throw chicken guts and potions in their neighbor’s yard. When is practicing your religion against the law? The answer is in tonight's Help Me Howard with Seven's Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- If you think you have a bad neighbor, listen to Yvonne Bandoo describe hers.
Yvonne Bandoo: "They have poisoned my vegetables. They put broken bottles around my house. They send their followers to torment me."
Now before you start thinking that Yvonne is one brick shy of a load, take a look at this box.
Yvonne Bandoo: "A whole bag of videos since I put the camera's up on day one."
Hundreds of tapes from four cameras she installed around her Miami-Dade County house to prove that she is under attack.
Yvonne Bandoo: "They throw voodoo stuff, dead dogs in my yard. You know, a lot of stuff has been going on."
Yvonne says a man who she calls a voodoo priest, who has come after her for the last four years, is orchestrating the attacks.
Yvonne Bandoo: "He and his followers. This person goes around and torments people because he wants them to leave their property because he wants to make it his community."
And you don't have to take Yvonne's word for it. As the sports guys like to say, let's roll the videotape.
Yvonne Bandoo: "Now see him?"
The tape appears to show a man walk up to her fence and throw something in the yard.
The next morning she found pennies.
Yvonne Bandoo: "They say it's to make you penniless. That's voodoo for your pockets to drain, so you can't keep the property, and you have to run."
She can ignore that -- but then she shows you tape of a person going through her mailbox in broad daylight.
Yvonne Bandoo: "See the person is in my mailbox. For what reason I don't know."
She found out when he stole her mail, and then there are the pictures.
Yvonne Bandoo: "Chicken guts when they have their voodoo meetings. This is more chicken guts. More oil. More oil. More oil."
The man does not try to hide his identity. Yvonne told the police who he was but did not want to tell us.
Yvonne Bandoo: "I know who is doing this. But I don't want to say the name. He's a liar, he's a hater, he’s a vindictive and cruel man. The police have been called over ten times, and nothing has been done about this person."
And now the man has made an even more dangerous threat.
Yvonne Bandoo: "He said he's going to burn me out. If I don't leave the community, I'm going to be burned out."
Desperate to find a way to stop this man, Yvonne made a call to Help Me Howard.
Howard Finkelstein: "There are at least three crimes committed here. One is a federal offense -- which is taking her mail. There are also at least two misdemeanors -- trespassing and the intentional damage of someone else's property."
Help Me Howard contacted the U.S. Postal Inspectors. They agreed to look at Yvonne's video of people going through her mail.
One inspector told us if the video shows someone taking her mail, they will take the case to the U.S. Attorney's office for charges. The thief could get up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
As for tossing dead dogs, chicken parts and pennies in her yard, Howard says those types of misdemeanors are more difficult to handle.
Howard Finkelstein: "Under Florida Law a police officer can only arrest someone for a misdemeanor if it’s committed in their presence. If they don't see it, then they can't arrest for it. They have to gather the information and let the state attorney decide whether or not to file charges."
It's possible the man could go to jail, and if he does not, Yvonne says he won't have her to torment anymore.
Yvonne Bandoo: "Leave me alone. I'm selling my property. That's what you want."
Now it turns out the police did go talk to the troublemaker.
After that, one officer told Yvonne, "If I were you I would just sell my house and move." Which is what she is doing.
It is frustrating for us, of course -- you want every problem to have a simple clear solution, but, as we all know, life is not always simple.
A problem tossed in your lap? Want to clear it out? Contact us. Some people do voodoo, we do solutions.
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