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My House Was Stolen Piece by Piece and Replaced with a Cornfield

I am not upset about the corn, but... where's my house?

by Alex Mihăileanu
08 July 2014, 9:23am

This just in from Romania: Last May, Andy Pascali from Bucharest drove to his summer house in Brăila county. When he arrived, the house wasn't there. Apparently, in the few months Andy hadn't visited the area, someone disassembled the property piece by piece, leaving room for his neighbour to plant a cornfield in its place.

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

His status update writes: "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 one of those instances, when you don't know if you should be laughing or crying.
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.

How big is the damage?
The house was more of a 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 [£5,407] [that's 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 [£214] [that is a little over the medium wage in Romania].

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 neighbours 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 the okay. He still did it, though. I am not upset that he planted corn, but... where's my house?

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.

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