A Courtenay man is at home recuperating from injuries after he was allegedly assaulted by a 16-year-old boy when he caught the teen kicking his door in the early hours for a social media stunt.
But after police viewed video of Monday’s incident, Owen May, 48, was told there was a possibility he would be charged.
For 4½ years, May and his wife Laura, 42, have had their front door kicked in the middle of the night.
“It would happen for a week or two and then stop for a while before happening again. I just wanted it to stop,” said May, a fishing guide for 22 years.
May bought a security camera to catch the perpetrator. By the next morning, he had a video showing a person kicking his door at 1 a.m. He shared the video with police. The person came back on two more nights.
May then strung fishing line across his front door. When he saw the person walk up his drive at 1:18 a.m., he and his wife jumped out of bed and went to confront their tormentor.
When the person kicked the door, their foot got caught on the line.
Laura May attempted to apprehend him but another person rushed up, Owen May said.
Both strangers carried flashlights and used them to bludgeon the Mays, Owen May said.
“I was on my knees with one of them bashing my head and I saw the other ripping my wife’s pyjamas off,” said May. “There she was, naked, in our front yard.”
The two, who the Mays later discovered were both 16, made their escape.
Owen May was left with lacerations and bruises to his arms and legs. “Chunks” of his toenail were ripped off, he said. Laura May required stitches to close up a wound to her eyelid.
Police were called and were shown video of the violent encounter.
But Owen May was shocked to discover that police consider his use of the fishing line a possible crime.
“We’re actively investigating this matter,” RCMP Insp. Mike Kurvers told Glacier Media. Crown prosecutors will decide whether charges are warranted, he said.
He said while charges of assault are pending against the two youths, no charges have been recommended against Owen May.
Owen May faces the loss of up to two weeks work due to leg injuries.
He is hopeful that the tormenting will end.
“One of the boys’ father came over to apologize — his wife was too upset,” said May. “He had tears in his eyes when he saw how beat-up Laura was. …
“I didn’t intend to hurt or trap anyone with my fishing line. I just wanted to catch the person.”
“When the boy’s father suggested his son perform some yard work as a form of restorative justice, I just told him to keep his son and his friends out of my neighbourhood.”
The boy’s family live a five-minute walk from the Mays’ home, along a bike trail. Owen May said there were always two people involved, one kicking the door while the other filmed the act.
“It’s some sort of TikTok challenge, I believe,” Owen May said.
“When I looked it up, I saw dozens of it [doors being kicked in] happening to other houses.”
Neighbours have since contacted May to offer words of encouragement and share their stories of strangers in the night doing to same thing to them.
“Most of the people here as in their 60s and 70s — one of my neighbours is 82-years-old,” said Owen May, who has lived in the neighbourhood for six-and-a-half years.
Most of the people who he talked to had bought security cameras because of the harassment.
That has resulted in videos circulating on social media, including one from Campbell River of a person knocking on a front door in the middle of the night dressed up as a cow.
A spokesperson for TikTok, the social media platform where many of the videos turn up, said it tries to do everything in its power to discourage such activity.
“To be clear, we are not seeing this as a trend on our platform and the footage being referenced is not from TikTok,” said a spokesperson for the social media platform.
“Content that promotes illegal activities, dangerous behaviour or challenges is a violation of TikTok’s community guidelines, which apply to all content on TikTok, and will be removed from our platform.
“We use a combination of technology and human moderation teams to identify, review and, where appropriate, remove content or accounts that violate our community guidelines.”