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North Auburn prowler alarming neighbors

Resident says the man walks on roof, looks through windows
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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A North Auburn resident said a prowler has been harassing her family and neighbors for the last ten years. Neighbors back up her claims, and the Placer County Sheriff’s Department is investigating. Rhonda Payne, who lives on Grass Valley Highway near Doug Oest Road past Dry Creek Road, said the man has knocked on her windows, climbed on her roof, thrown rocks at her neighbors, killed neighbors’ cats, watched her family through night-vision goggles and stolen her daughter’s underwear. Payne said the experience worries her because she has an in-home daycare and her grandchildren are also frequently at her house. “They say the people who do this escalate, and what is going to happen when he escalates?” Payne asked Friday. Several neighbors think they know who the prowler is, and believe he is a registered sex-offender living in Nevada County, Payne said. A search by the Journal could not confirm that claim. The Journal is withholding his name, because no arrest has been made yet. The Placer County Sheriff’s Department is conducting an ongoing investigation, said Lt. Jeff Ausnow, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Department. “For several years we have received numerous reports from the same reporting party of a possible ‘Peeping Tom’ in her neighborhood,” Ausnow said. “We have investigated and continue to investigate these reports in an attempt to confirm the incidents and identify a suspect. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Placer County Sheriff's Office at (530) 886-5375.” Laura Payne, Rhonda Payne’s daughter, said she saw the man crouched down on the roof several years ago when she was a teenager and was taking the recyclables out. The man also knocked on Laura Payne’s window was she was younger, she said. “I was home alone one time, and I was picking up my bedroom … and he was knocking on my window and he was scaring me,” Laura Payne said. Her underwear was stolen off her bed when she was about 15, Laura Payne, now 25, said. Rhonda Payne said she just wants the Sheriff’s Department to catch the man as quickly as possible. “Everything just seems to match, and even if it’s not (who I think it is), it’s somebody,” she said. Rhonda Payne said the man wears a mask because she thinks he knows the Payne family would recognize him. Every time a neighbor chases and comes close to catching the prowler, he manages to get away, Rhonda Payne said. “We couldn’t figure out how this guy gets away so fast,” she said. “He can jump a six-foot fence like it’s nothing.” Keith York, who lives on Miller Lane, said his next-door neighbor hit the man one night when he was in the neighbor’s yard. “I haven’t had any direct contact with him per se,” York said. “The other night he was in our yard. This guy’s been around for years.” York said when his daughter was younger and living at home, she would tell York about a man looking in her window. “He seems to frequent houses that have children, daughters or sons,” York said. “The kid’s pretty sick.” York said he’s tried to stay up late to catch the man. “It’s been on ongoing problem for years now, and he seems to be branching out,” he said. “It quit for a few years … and it just started up (again) in the last two months.” If the Sheriff’s Department catches the prowler, it would give the Payne family a huge peace of mind, Rhonda Payne said. “I’m just kind of at my breaking point with this guy,” she said. “He does so many things.” Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com