The owner of the mobile home that a woman is accused of having demolished said he and the 62-year-old woman are related. But even so, how could something like that happen?
Ana Moreta Folch (pictured below) was arrested this week on a charge of felony property damage after she told a bulldozing company to tear down the home, deputies said.
Folch, who lives across the street from the mobile home, told detectives she was doing the county a favor by having it destroyed because unsavory people were living in it, even though she didn't have the owner's permission.
IMAGES: Partially demolished mobile home
Thomas Masters, the owner of Masters Land Clearing, which was hired to bulldoze the home, said he feels as much a victim as the homeowner. Deputies said Folch lied to the company, telling them it was her house and she wanted it torn down. Halfway through the demolition the real owner showed up and asked them to stop.
Masters said he "feels bad about it and feels violated himself." Masters said Folch "met his employee at the home, unlocked the door and told him it was her home. The house was gutted, with no working air conditioner or plumbing in the house."
So how could a company bulldoze a house without proof of ownership or a permit?
"As mobile homes are not permanent structures, we do not govern the demolition of a mobile home," St. Johns County spokesman Michael Ryan said. "We deal primarily with permanent structures."
Ryan said permits are only necessary to demolish a permanent structure. In that situation, the county requires proof of home ownership through the property appraiser's office.
"That's pretty amazing to me," said a neighbor who didn't want to be identified. "You've got to have a permit for just about everything else, so why not pull one to bulldoze someone's house down?"
Two other local contractors said they typically meet with the mobile home owners inside the property and double check with the person who hired them that they are bulldozing the right place.
What's still unknown is just what will happen next to the owner's bulldozed mobile home and who is going to pay for the $25,000 in damages.