Calgary Freeman arrested at house he called his embassy

Calgary police have arrested a self-described Freeman-on-the-Land, who had declared his rented property an embassy.

Montreal man was ordered by a judge to leave rented property he claimed as his own

Mario Antonacci, also known as Andreas Pirelli (in white), is taken out of the Calgary Police Service arrest processing unit on Friday. The self-described Freeman-on-the-Land will be sent to Montreal where he faces outstanding charges. (Meghan Grant/CBC)

Calgary police arrested a self-described Freeman-on-the-Land early Friday after he had declared his rented property to be an embassy.

The unwanted tenant was arrested on Quebec warrants stemming from an alleged 2007 assault against his former landlady in Montreal.

He failed to show up for his trial, prompting police to issue a warrant in May 2010, according to Canadian Press reports.

The man will be sent to Montreal within the next six days, ending the Calgary Police Service’s involvement in the case, said Insp. Terry Larson.

"From our investigation into that residence, there are no anticipated criminal charges at this point,” he said.

The 48-year-old man, who goes by the names Andreas Pirelli and Mario Antonacci, rented half of a duplex in Parkdale in the city’s northwest in November 2011 from Sylvan Lake pensioner Rebekah Caverhill.

The renter, who came from Montreal, said he was a handyman and convinced her to let him make improvements on the property in exchange for three months’ rent.

A few months later, Caverhill discovered the man had changed the locks on the house.

The man had also gutted the kitchen and bathroom, removed all the inside doors and painted the master bedroom black, she said.

When Caverhill confronted him, he told her he was a Freeman-on-the-Land and that the house was now an embassy.

Ordered out

Freemen are self-styled "sovereign citizens" who have — in their view — freed themselves from the restrictions and conspiracies of government.

Caverhill later received an invoice from the renter's personal company for $26,000 in work done to the home and a notice from the Land Titles Office that a $17,000-lien had been put on the house.

A lien is a form of security interest granted over an item of property to secure the payment of a debt or performance of some other obligation.

Earlier this week, Caverhill was finally able to get a Calgary judge to order the man out of her property by Friday.

Caverhill told CBC News she was relieved to learn the man has been removed from her property.

“I don’t know what I’m going to find when I do get in there. I don’t have that much money ... if there’s any damage or anything like that,” she said. “But I’m just grateful.”

There were other people living in the house with the man, but Caverhill said she's under the impression a bailiff will remove them by midnight if necessary under the court order.

"Thank you to the @CalgaryPolice for arresting Mario Antonacci peacefully and without incident," tweeted Service Alberta Minister Manmeet Bhuller.

Bhuller plans to meet with Calgary police next week to see what can be done to improve the process pertaining to evictions.

"At this point, there was a civil agreement [between] the renter and the landlady. When there's no paperwork, it causes a considerable issue for the authorities to work with," said Insp. Larson.

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