A TikTok challenge involving kicking a home’s door and running away before the occupants answer took a nasty turn in Crown Isle, when the homeowners confronted the youths.
Owen May has been on the receiving end of this prank for a number of years. This year has been especially bad.
“It’s been four, four-and-a-half years of these kids kicking down our door in the middle of the night,” said the Crown Isle resident. “It usually goes on for about a week straight, then it stops for about a year, and then it starts again. Kicking the doors, causing damage… the first time I thought our house was on fire (and someone was warning us).
“Probably 80 per cent of our neighbourhood in Crown Isle are seniors. They are doing it to their homes as well. There are eight other homes on my street that just by this incident this week, I have found out they have all installed security cameras on their properties because they had their doors kicked in. So it’s not just me being targeted.”
The latest incidents began the week of March 13.
According to May, his door was kicked repeatedly, late in the night on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. He said he called the RCMP after the second incident, but the trespassing persisted, to no avail. After the fourth incident of the week, Friday, March 17, May decided to take matters into his own hands, in an effort to catch the perpetrators.
He set up a trip wire with fishing line under the door so that when the perpetrator kicked the door and tried to run away, the line would trip him up. The youths came back on Sunday night.
The Mays saw them approaching, jumped out of bed and went to the front door.
“As soon as they came and kicked on the door, I was on the other side of the door and pulled the line tight and caught his ankle,” said May.
The one youth tripped, and the front door immediately opened and May’s wife, Laura, pounced on the fallen trespasser.
The ensuing struggle with the teens at the front of the Mays’ house resulted in severe lacerations to Owen’s arms and legs. His injuries are so extensive he can’t put on socks or shoes, and therefore can’t work.
Laura needed stitches to her eyelid. The assailants allegedly used flashlights as weapons and ripped her top off.
Assault charges are pending against the youths.
Owen May’s actions are not without consequences of their own.
Charges are also pending against him, relevant to Section 247 (1) of the Criminal Code of Canada: Traps likely to cause bodily harm.
“We do have an active investigation on both sides - there is an alleged assault, and on the other side… he (May) set traps that can harm people and that is a criminal offence,” said Comox Valley RCMP Insp. Mike Kurvers. “So we are looking at both sides of this.
“We have identified the people and are trying to work out arrangements from both parties, but it is a police investigation, so we can’t release too much.”
Kurvers said the alleged assailants are 16 years old.
May was unaware of the charges pending against him.
“It wasn’t meant to cause bodily harm; it was just meant to stop them,” said May. “It’s not like it was a leg-hold trap. It wasn’t there to break his ankle. It was just to trip him up.”
One neighbour, Terry McLaughlan, was dumbfounded when hearing about the pending charges against May.
“That’s just insane,” said McLaughlan, who moved to Crown Isle in 2019. “I’ve had to put up security cameras because of this kind of stuff too. I’ve had my door (kicked), and had one of the kids challenge me and try to pick a fight with me, and I called the police and they never even got back to me. So the police aren’t addressing any of these issues, and when someone does something to try to (catch them)… the guy gets in trouble. It’s just ridiculous.”
Another neighbour, Terri (who asked that her last name not be used) said she has been a victim of similar events, going back to the summer of 2022. Her husband eventually bought security cameras, which have helped resolve the issue.
“We were harassed by them for months and months and months, and finally spent a lot of money to protect ourselves,” she said. “Nobody, not even a door-to-door salesman, has the right to come to your door and harass you.”
Terri has seen the video of the confrontation on the May property and she said it was hard to watch.
“It’s physically painful to watch the way Laura and Owen are both dragged across the exposed aggregate on their front sidewalk by those young men, and quite honestly, the way they ripped her clothes off her, that’s assault.”
She was surprised to hear about the pending charges against May.
“I don’t understand how we don’t have the right to protect ourselves or our property,” she said. “I am really surprised and disgusted that they would turn this around and even attempt to charge Owen. He did the right thing by trying to protect his own home, and I believe his actions will, going forward, put an end to the terrorization in this community.”
Kurvers said there has been no increase in delinquent activity in Crown Isle, or anywhere else in the Comox Valley.
“Crown Isle is a very safe area. There will obviously be offshoots of little things here and there, but I am going to say the whole community is pretty safe - all of Comox Valley, speaking from a police perspective.”
“That’s a bunch of crap,” said McLaughlan. “I know Owen personally, and this has been going on, and on, and on. It’s affected both him and his wife. It’s ridiculous to think that someone can do this and get away with it.”
“My wife can’t even sleep at night anymore,” said May. “I roll over in bed and she wakes up screaming. That’s how tormented she is. We have called the police, but do you think they have time to show up? No. We don’t even hear back from them. I think one time in the last four years they have actually shown up (prior to Tuesday, March 14).”
Terri said she contacted the police when her incidents happened and said there was no follow-up.
“I remember one conversation I had with the police. I called the police and I gave them a description of the individual, and they - the police - never came to my house, never questioned me, never told me if they saw the kids. Nothing ever happened with them.”
She said no police file was ever made.
The Beelers, who live down the street from May, have installed security cameras, after having their door kicked in November.
“These kids have been coming up and down (throughout the neighbourhood) and it’s annoying - I’m 82 years old, I don’t need this nonsense, and neither does my 80-year-old wife,” said Bob Beeler. “There are a lot of seniors up and down the street here and it’s annoying as hell. We don’t need this.”
After identifying one of the perpetrators, May confronted the father, who confirmed it was his son in the video.
“He was almost in tears when he saw the video. I asked him, ‘If this had happened to you for the last four years, how would you and your wife sleep at night?’ He was shocked. He said, ‘My son is a shy kid, doesn’t get out much, and is a straight-A student.’
“He did offer to have his son do some yardwork around my place, but I told him I just preferred his son and his friends stay out of Crown Isle. I’m probably out about $2,400 in damages and (security) equipment purchased, and I am losing about $250 a day in wages because I can’t put socks and shoes on.”
Terri said the police officer leading the investigation has informed her that because the kids have seen that there are extreme consequences to such actions, hopefully, there will be no more such situations going forward.
“If so, that’s thanks to Owen,” said Terri. “Not thanks to the RCMP; thanks to Owen and Laura.”
The Record has reached out to the father of the assailant for comment.