MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - A South Florida man who earned the nickname "neighbor from hell" admits he lost control, but only after his neighbors pushed him to his breaking point, Mitchell Igelko said in an exclusive interview with Local 10's John Turchin.
"I would love to clear that 'neighbor from hell' title," Igelko told Local 10, saying it's created a lot of embarrassment and hardship.
Neighbors claim he has terrorized them for years, throwing eggs at their homes, nails on their driveways, sprayed poisonous chemicals on their lawns and hired other people to smash car windows, douse vehicles with gasoline and blow up a boat.
For the first time since his neighbors and he waged against each other war four years ago, Igelko has finally agreed to share his side of the story.
"This started with one of my neighbors beating on my dog," Igelko said.
When the neighbor refused to apologize, he admits he lost it, leaving a threatening message on his neighbor's phone.
Afraid and concerned, some of his neighbors decided to fight back. They had him arrested several times. Many installed sophisticated surveillance systems that caught him in the act.
"Yeah, I kind of lost it," Igelko said. "I was just very angry about the whole situation. It was just something that I couldn't control."
Turchin then asked Igelko why he couldn't let it go.
"They just kept pushing and pushing my wrong buttons, and it got to a point where I just basically blew up and maybe did the wrong thing," Igelko said.
There was more video that showed the malicious acts neighbors claim Igelko caused, including a boat explosion.
"I had nothing to do with that," Igelko said.
Igelko accepts responsibility for his part but insists the public has the wrong impression of him.
"I am a family person," he said. "I have a wife. I have two kids. We have animals."
Igelko said his name "has been destroyed" by what happened.
"Not only did it hurt me emotionally, mentally and my person, but it also affected my business quite a bit," Igelko said.
A temporary restraining order forbids him to be within 500 feet of his neighbors, so he's had to sell his home and move.
"I am not definitely a perfect person," Igelko said. "I have mistakes that I've made obviously. ... I would probably say I owe people apologies."
Igelko said he has one regret.
"When the incident happened with my dog, not just going and looking the other way and just saying, you know, forget about this and just moving on," Igelko said.
Igelko has been charged but never convicted with any crime related to the neighborhood scandal.
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