• June 24, 2024

San Diego homeowners get a very unwelcome feeling

Jerald Rice typed his wife’s name into an Internet search engine. A series of unsettling stunts had perplexed him.

Advertisements for sex with his wife popped up. “Adult entertainment of all types when my husband is not home,” the ads said. “Not for the faint of heart. Come see me during the day while my husband is at work and we can get our freak on.”

Some ads contained the couple’s address and a photograph of the home they shared with their two children. Some had his wife’s photograph, he said.

The tiled roofs of the houses in the planned community of Carmel Valley. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)
The tiled roofs of the houses in the planned community of Carmel Valley. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)

Alarmed, he called his wife at work and then spoke to an FBI agent. He installed security equipment and pleaded with the online sites to remove the ads.

Janice Ruhter, Rice’s wife, had just given birth to their second child. “I was scared,” she said.

Since buying their home in San Diego’s upscale Carmel Valley, the couple had been plagued with strangers at their door, deluges of books and magazines they had not ordered, solicitations they had not sought.

Someone wanted them out of the house.

Rice and Ruhter received the keys to their new home in September 2011. Within weeks, strangers were ringing the doorbell.

Unbeknown to the new owners, someone had listed the house for sale on the Internet.

“I didn’t know what was going on until after the second or third person,” Rice said. “I asked, actually, a real estate agent. She told me it was posted on Zillow for sale.”

In December, the crush of Christmas mail suddenly stopped. When Rice went to the post office, he found out that someone using his wife’s name had put a one-month hold on the mail.

Then the mail arrived in torrents: thousands of dollars of magazines and books that someone had ordered without their permission and junk mail addressed to Jacques Arse.

In February, someone sent Valentine’s Day cards to the couple’s female neighbors. “Thinking of you,” said the cards, signed with Rice’s initials. He learned of them from the husband of one of the women.

“I wasn’t quite sure what was going on until he showed me the envelope, and it was addressed to his wife,” Rice said. “And it was from me.”

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