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A Romanian Man's House Was Stolen and Replaced with a Cornfield

"Why would you do that to a house that doesn't belong to you?" asked Andy Pascali, a Bucharest resident who seemed more bewildered than angry that his cabin in the mountains had been spirited away by unknown vandals.
July 8, 2014, 5:45pm

In May, Andy Pascali, a Romanian from Bucharest, drove to his summer house in the county of Brăila. When he arrived, the house wasn't there. Apparently, in the few months Andy had been away, someone disassembled the property piece by piece, leaving room for his neighbor to plant a cornfield in its place.

Last week, Andy decided to rant about his misfortune on Facebook:

Translated, his status reads:_ ”If you happen to have a summer house in the mountains, you should go check that it's still there. I drove to my house in the countryside and all I found in its place was a cornfield. I don't mean that the corn was covering the house from my line of sight—I mean that it was literally covering the place where my house used to be.”_

I called Andy to ask why it took him two months to do anything about his missing house.

VICE: It's been a while since your house disappeared. Are you still angry?
Andy Pascali: I'm not upset—I haven't even tried to find out who did it until now. I'm lucky, because I live in Bucharest and have two houses—I have all I need. What I don't like is this random disrespect. Why would you do that to a house that doesn't belong to you?

How did you find out your house was missing?
I've built this house for my dad, and I usually drive him there. So last time I drove him there, at the beginning of May, I found a pile of gravel and a few stones instead of my house. But I couldn't find the time to make a formal complaint with the police until now. If nobody reports this kind of crime, the thieves will just keep doing it. I hope the police catch them.

What did the house look like?
The house was more of lodge—you couldn't live in it all year round. But it had an iron frame and OSB walls. There was a fountain in the garden, and they even removed the cement tubing from it and filled it with earth and garbage. They stole the fence, everything. They cut whatever they could with a blowtorch and left a pile of gravel behind.

I mean, even if it wasn't a great house, it was still worth about 6,800 euros [$9,200, the price of a new car in Romania]. The house had electricity and all that's left is the 12-meter posts on which I put the power lines, which cost me 270 euros [$370].

Did you ask around to find out who did this?
The house was broken into before in 1996. Back then, they stole the fridge with everything that was in it. I look at the people living in that village and see that they don't have jobs—poverty is very high there. The house is in the village but not in the middle of it, and the neighbors aren't so close. The guy that lives closest to me said that he bought the land last fall and that nobody lived there over the winter, so he hadn't seen anything.

But isn't that the guy who planted corn on your land?
It's complicated. He used my posts to get access to the power lines—I had said that was OK. When I went there two months ago to find my house was missing, he offered to help me remove the garbage. Then he asked me if he could plant corn there, but I said that I would have to think about it—I didn't give him an OK. He still did it, though. I am not upset that he planted corn, but... where's my house? The missing house is my problem, not the corn.

How come you only wrote about it on Facebook now?
I didn't do it in a “look at me, I'm the victim” kind of way, but as a warning. So many people have houses in the mountains. They should watch out, you never know when you might wake up to find it missing.