Before the 44-year-old chemical engineer pulls out of the garage,
he'll check for roofing nails behind his tires. In the past few
months the so-called Terrorist of Epernay, a.k.a. Tony Cantu, has
accrued more than 20 flats. Once, he and his wife counted as many as
three nails puncturing the tread of a newly purchased tire.
Neighbors have followed his wife while she ran errands or deposited
the children at school.
At night, tired of all the crank calls, the Cantus unplug their
phones. Their water hose has been slashed; their cars keyed and
towed. They have been threatened and insulted. The images of Cantu
as Osama bin Laden were mailed with association literature to the
157 homeowners of Epernay, a planned community named for the French
hub of the Champagne trade. Others were posted on the community Web
site, where Cantu is likewise ridiculed and referred to as "the
Tumor" and a "pathetic POS." As if the collective harassment weren't
clear enough, anonymous letters (including information about where
the Cantu children attend school and where they sleep) spell it out
more plainly: "Why don't you just get the hell out?"
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