Far Out Friday: Dream house becomes a nightmare

by AB27 Feb 2015
Property auctions can be pretty intense, but one in the United States has turned nightmarish for the winning bidders. A San Diego woman was recently sentenced for stalking a married couple who she had lost to in a bidding war for her “dream house.”

“I had put so much hope into this house,” Kathy Rowe told ABC News in an interview that airs tonight on ABC News' "20/20." “When I walked in, it felt like my house... it’s almost like, you know, you hear bluebirds sing and music play. I walked in, it was my house.”

A "devastated, heartbroken" Rowe, 53, decided to start playing what she calls pranks on the couple, Janice Ruhter and Jerry Rice, who had a young child and another baby on the way when they moved in.

Her pranks included: billing the couple for $1,000 worth of adult diapers and magazine subscriptions they didn't order, advertising a fake New Year's Eve party at their home, and sending Valentine's Day cards to neighbors' wives with the Rice’s name signed to them.

Rowe even had their mail stopped, listed the house for sale online and posted online ads for sex with Ruhter that instructed anyone interested to come to the house during the day.

She pleaded guilty to stalking in November and was sentenced in January to a year of home electronic surveillance, five years of probation, and ordered to stay away from the couple for 10 years.