The only problem — he didn’t tell her
The only things left from a modest 900-square foot ranch home on Woodland Avenue in Middletown, New York is pile of rubble consisting of a crumpled sign and some clothing.
Neighbor Steve Belfiglio says James Rhein rented an excavator and reduced the house to rubble Monday when his wife was out running errands.
“He bulldozed all her clothes in there. Washer, dryer, furnace, hot water heater, everything was still in there. In fact, her medication was still in there,” Belfiglio said.
Rhein was arrested on site as he was depositing debris into Dumpsters—debris including all his wife’s clothes and medications, appliances
He is facing a felony criminal mischief charge.
Rhein’s says he attempted to get a permit for the demolition but couldn’t since the relevant office was closed Monday—a federal holiday.
He also also says he tried to call his wife before starting the project, but she didn’t answer. (The electric, water, and gas lines to the house were shut off, though that’s reportedly only because officials made emergency calls to avoid an explosion.
According to Rhein, his wife has already gotten “over it,” but she tells ABC 7, “I’m in shock, still I’m in shock.” (Police say this woman had her neighbors’ home bulldozed.)
It’s no clear he knocked down the home.
The couple was apparently not experiencing marital problems. The wife said she’s over it now, but she’s still surprised by the move, which came as they were working to repair the home.