A White Bear Lake woman, dubbed as the "Neighbor from Hell" after years of menacing her neighbors, was charged Thursday with two counts of stalking after she allegedly harassed real estate agents and prospective buyers who came to look at a property next door that recently was put up for sale.
Lori E. Christensen, 57, took photos of and videotaped clients, put up "No Trespassing" signs facing the home for sale and loudly made disparaging comments about the house and the people who had lived there.
In one case, she swore at a real estate agent, told him to get out of her neighborhood and threatened to call police because of where he parked his car. She slapped her butt in front of him as he drove away, according to charges filed in Ramsey County District Court.
Christensen is charged with felony stalking after her third or subsequent violation in 10 years, and gross misdemeanor stalking for following or monitoring another person.
At other times, the charges said, Christensen yelled at potential buyers, telling them "meth users" lived there.
"My buyers actually liked the house and really liked the location, but we had an encounter with the neighbor which completely convinced the buyers that they wouldn't make an offer on the house," one real estate agent said, according to charges.
The saga is the latest in a series of dramas on East Street involving Christensen, who has been menacing neighbors on the 5200 block since the early 2010s.
In an earlier case, Christensen mocked a recovering alcoholic who lived across the street by racing a remote-controlled toy car in front of the family's house and yelling "drunk driver, drunk driver," as they held a birthday party for their son.
She also has called the police and city inspectors on her neighbors dozens of times in the past decade, once for an unfounded report of a car with a flat tire sitting in their driveway and another time because paper from their bin blew into her yard, court records show. She violated a restraining order in 2013 that prohibited her from videotaping her neighbors. Christensen was put on probation for her transgressions.
In the current case, the couple who lived next door to Christensen are now selling the house after originally moving there in 2016. Christensen immediately began videotaping them when they moved in, according to the complaint. The couple said their daughter stopped playing outside "for fear of getting filmed."
Over the next two years, encounters continued, often with Christensen shouting profanities and making wisecracks about their dogs and the family's ability to care for and control them. There also was a dispute over a fence the neighbors put up, the charges said.
In 2019, Christensen e-mailed city officials to report her neighbors were storing items on public property, were parking in no parking zones and that a new fence the family put up exceeded city height limits and should be torn down.
Christensen also has the head of a female mannequin on a stake on her deck and twice in April 2019 turned it so it faced her neighbors. That summer, Christensen also was accused of cutting the cable TV line that passes through her property but serves her neighbors. Another time, as her neighbors were installing gutter guards, Christensen stood in front of the neighbor's house staring at them. The neighbors moved out in December and put the home on the market.
"She is not making that easy by trying to sabotage it by causing fear and intimidation in prospective buyers and their agents," the neighbors wrote in a statement included in the charges. "She is harassing and verbally abusing us even to potential buyers and real estate agents. We fear for our lives and for the lives of the renters and prospective home buyers and agents. I am losing sleep. I even experience a physical reaction when I am faced with a situation that involves her. I start shaking and feel very sick to my stomach from fear. This feeling of fear and intimidation has increased significantly of late as we have prepared to sell our house."
Christensen told investigators that she has a First Amendment right to freedom of speech, videotapes conversations to protect herself and always remains on her own property, the charges said.
Christensen, who has previous convictions for domestic assault and violating a harassment restraining order, made her first court appearance remotely Friday. She posted $20,000 bond and is due back in court June 24.
Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768