Authorities say a Blaine man accused of threatening Joe Biden took disputes with neighbors to an extreme, stealing personal data and planting child porn.
It apparently began with a kiss.
A day after moving into their Blaine home, a young family's 4-year-old son wandered into a neighbor's yard to play. The boy's mother said she saw the neighbor pick up her son and tell the little boy, "Bet you can't touch me."
The mother, aghast, tried calling the boy, but the neighbor held him. Before finally setting him down, he allegedly kissed the boy on the lips.
On Aug. 3, 2008, the boy's parents reported the incident to Blaine police, who questioned the neighbor, Barry Ardolf. Six months later, according to court documents and police reports filed by the family, Ardolf allegedly began exacting revenge.
He allegedly created a bogus e-mail account in the neighbor's name and, hijacking the neighbor's wireless, began sending a series of e-mails containing child pornography and lewd messages to the neighbor's boss and co-workers. Eventually, Ardolf even allegedly sent threats to elected officials -- including Vice President Joe Biden -- again, in the name of the neighbor.
Ardolf now sits in jail awaiting trial on federal charges of accessing a protected computer, identify theft, possessing and transmitting child pornography and sending threats to the president and successors to the presidency. He has pleaded not guilty. If the charges are true, Ardolf's case is a chilling example of anger against neighbors taken to a disturbing extreme.
Ardolf, his lawyer, his current and former neighbors -- including the couple who reported him to police -- and his family have all declined to talk about what happened. But a federal indictment and search warrant affidavits, police reports and a civil restraining order paint a portrait of a man who painstakingly seeks vengeance against those who make him angry.
On Monday, Feb. 23, 2009, three co-workers of Ardolf's neighbor arrived at work to find e-mails claiming to be from their friend and co-worker. One was sent to the director of the company and contained two images of child pornography.
"Check it out. New family pic. I was thinking you could appreciate these," the e-mail stated.
The images showed three nude children. Ardolf's neighbor has three young children.
An e-mail to a co-worker read: "I was thinking of you on Valentine's Day. I wouldn't mind at all if you wanted to sneak me a kiss when nobody is looking. Remember what Bill Clinton finally fessed up to? I want that from you!"
Soon after, law enforcement officials discovered a MySpace page, again in the name of Ardolf's neighbor, with a photo of the neighbor copied from his company's website.
The page contained a child pornography image and sought out "any ladies looking for a good time."
On March 8, 2009, two of the neighbor's co-workers received what appeared to be an e-mail from a local woman alleging that the neighbor had sexually assaulted her.
An investigation later tracked down the woman, who said the incident never happened and she knew nothing about the e-mail.
Then, on April 3, 2009, the U.S. Secret Service contacted the neighbor.
It seems that several threatening e-mails were sent to elected officials, including Biden, from two e-mail addresses that appeared to come from the neighbor and his wife.
The man who lived next to Ardolf denied having anything to do with the e-mails.
A subsequent investigation showed that, in fact, someone using Ardolf's Internet account had hacked into the neighbor's Wi-Fi, court documents say.
In July 2009, the neighbor petitioned for a restraining order against Ardolf.
The restraining order was granted after a court hearing. Both Ardolf and the neighbor signed it. It was the first time they'd seen or talked to each other in nearly a year.
About the same time, the FBI searched Ardolf's home, his Internet records and his computers. Agents entered the house with guns drawn. Later, they removed boxes of computer equipment and computer storage devices.
They found that this wasn't the first time he'd allegedly gone after a neighbor.
Agents found Social Security numbers, dates of birth and the address of Ardolf's previous neighbors in Brooklyn Park.
In March 2009, the neighbors found a threatening message in their mailbox. The message included a print-out of a page from the couple's TurboTax tax return containing their personal information. Several images of a skull were added to the screen shot, as was this message: "I told you a year ago that you should be very afraid. I can destroy you at will, you sorry ass excuse for a human."
When contacted by the FBI, the neighbors said they were not surprised.
Ardolf had often gotten angry with them, especially when people working at their home parked in front of Ardolf's house, they said. Once, he had come over and demanded the names of everyone in the house. He instructed his children to dump snow onto their cars in the winter, the former neighbor said.
Ardolf, they told the FBI, had the skill to tap into their Wi-Fi and pirate data from their computer. He was a technician at Medtronic.
Once, the former neighbors were cordial with Ardolf and his wife, Nancy. That changed, the former neighbor said, after Nancy Ardolf died.
A sudden death
On the morning of Nov. 6, 2000, two days before her 38th birthday, Nancy Ardolf fell dead on her bathroom floor. Her death certificate listed the cause as "sudden unexpected death associated with myxomatous degeneration of mitral valve (prolapse)" -- a weakening of a valve in her heart.
Barry Ardolf was at work. Nancy's body was found by her three young children.
On June 24, 2003, Ardolf was sentenced to probation and ordered to pay $100 for a domestic assault involving one of his children. But, beyond that, not much more is known about him or his family.
But at a recent hearing, his 19-year-old daughter, Katrina, told the court she'd seen him using a computer in the house and at an area bookstore.
That meant her father was defying a judge's orders to stay off the Internet. Ardolf was ordered to jail.
James Walsh • 612-673-7428