By: Luiz Brassi- The Brock Press
A Calgary retiree has finally been able to reclaim her house after years of struggling against Andreas Pirelli, a self-proclaimed ‘Freeman-on-the-Land’. Pirelli is part of one of the many sovereign citizen movements, of which include as many as 30, 000 members nationally, sprouting around Canada and the U.S. These movements are usually joined by people who are in legal or financial troubles in an attempt to solve all of their problems by invoking nonsensical legal terms and documents.
Rebekah Caverhill leased one of her homes to Pirelli in November 2011. Pirelli, who had just moved from Montreal, claimed he was a handyman and offered to fix-up the home in exchange for three months of free rent. Rebekah later dropped by the house to see how things were going and was surprised to find that the majority of the kitchen and bathroom had been gutted, all of the doors had been removed and the bedroom floor had been painted black. The situation escalated after she confronted Pirelli about the changes made.
“He walks me to the door and he’s yelling at me, ‘I’m a Freemen-on-the-Land.’ I said: ‘This is my house, not yours.’ He said: ‘No. This is an embassy house now and it’s mine and you have no rights’, so then he slams the door.”
Rebekah tried to open the door but found that all the locks had been changed, “I said: ‘How come the key doesn’t work?’ He said: ‘I changed the locks, it’s not your home.’” She soon received an invoice from Pirelli’s company, billing her $26, 000 for work done in her home.
After going to the police, Caverhill was told that this was a civil matter and could only be resolved through the civil court system, a process that can take years.
A Calgary judge finally ordered Pirelli to vacate the property on Sept. 27, but Calgary police officers were able to arrest him a day before using warrants issued years ago by a Quebec court. It turns out that it was not the first time Pirelli had attempted this scam. In 2007 he allegedly threw his previous landlord down a flight of stairs when she confronted him and asked him to leave after he refused to pay rent. She had her pelvis, arm, wrist, and ankle broken. Pirelli was arrested and charged but failed to show up for court at his appointed date in 2010.
Caverhill was happy when she heard that Pirelli had been arrested that she cried tears of joy.”I don’t know what I’m walking into when I walk in there, but that’s nothing. Bricks and boards can be fixed but there are some things that are far more precious than bricks and boards — that’s the idea of freedom and standing up for what you think is right.”