It was around 11 p.m. in the middle of winter — maybe late December or January — when a man without a winter jacket hopped over Janet Richer's fence, crawled through three feet of snow in her back yard, and knocked on her back door waking her from bed.
“Ma’am, I didn’t mean to startle you but I’m having a rough time and I don’t have any money and I’m hungry and I’m hoping that you will give me $40,’ said the man according to Richer, 64. The retired single woman replied to the man, “what the hell you gonna have — steak and lobster?”
Richer told the man she didn’t have any cash and he replied that if she wanted he’d accompany her to a debit machine.
“No, you’ll get the hell off my property right now,” Richer retorted and she added that she didn’t actually say ‘hell’ — she used another, unrepeatable, word.
Richer said, when that happened, the man ran off and she called the police but, for her, that was the last straw.
Throughout the winter, Richer had five other people knock on the front door of her downtown bungalow asking for money.
“I have these annoying teenagers that seem to think I’m a bank and knock on my door and ask me for money.”
She’s not sure, but she thinks her house must have got a reputation of being a spot to hit for beggars somehow.
She said one of the beggars that came to her door this winter was just wearing a T-shirt and said he needed $25.
‘’Ma’am, I’m hoping you can do me a favour. I’m homeless, trying to live with my friend but I can’t stay there very long but I just wanted to borrow money,’” he said according to the Richer.
When she told him no he ran off to a nearby pickup truck and then shortly after a woman came out from around the corner, got in with him, and they drove off.
“I just stood there looking at them from the window going ‘what the heck?!,” said Richer annoyed at what she feels was an obvious attempt at deception.
Richer has a decorative stick by the door for times she feels threatened.
She has never had to use it — and swears she would only use it if she was attacked — but she did pull it out once for one of these door beggars.
“There were three within a matter of a couple weeks and it was starting to piss me off. This guy came to the door… so I reached for my stick and I just put it in front of me,” said Richer. “I said…’just go away before you can’t go away.’"
The guy stuttered and took off.
After the late night back door beggar incident, Richer and her son Googled a bunch of humorous but direct signs to try and dissuade unwanted guests.
Signs like, ‘We don’t dial 911’, ‘Trespassers will be composted’, and ‘No Trespassing, I’m tired of hiding the bodies’.
Richer ended up going with ‘Attention Trespassers! Please carry I.D. so I can call next of kin.’ beside her front door and on her back door ‘One time warning for Trespassers. If you are on my property tonight, you’ll be found here tomorrow!’
She put the signs up almost three months ago and she hasn't had a problem since.
And, if you’re wondering where Richer got her stick — it was from an old man in Goulais.
“I was out at... someone’s camp walking down the road. It was a long road and (the man) came out and said, ‘what are you doing walking with no stick?’ I said, ‘Why do I need a stick?’ He said ‘cuz’ I just saw a wolf around here 10 minutes ago’” then he went in his house and brought it out to her.
“I took it home and with me when I moved here and I thought, ‘good, any other wolves come around I’ll take care of them too,” said Richer, laughing devilishly.