(CBS) – Neighbor Steve Belfiglio summed it up. “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.”
Records show the home is owned by James Rhein’s wife – Diane Andryshak – and Middletown police say she didn’t know about or give permission for the demolition.
The 48-year-old Rhein says police have it all wrong – we literally bumped into him as we drove around Middletown.
Reporter: “The records say it’s in your wife’s name?”
Rhein: “We’re married, it’s a community asset.”
Reporter: “Well, apparently she told police you weren’t supposed to tear down the house.”
Rhein: “Well, apparently they’re wrong.”
Police say Rhein didn’t file for any demolition permits – and failed to notify utilities about his intended destruction – the electric and gas services had to be turned off by emergency crews.
Neighbor Belfiglio wasn’t happy about that. “He could have blew the block up I suppose!”
Marina Cassidy has her own opinion about her neighbor’s actions. “It’s crazy – I don’t know – luckily none of us were hurt!”
Right now Rhein is charged with felony criminal mischief but police say additional charges are likely. In Middletown, Orange County, Tony Aiello, CBS2News.