Thieves strip northern Interlake home down to a husk, crushing dreams of restoring a family heirloom

The owner of a fifth-generation farm in the northern Interlake was shocked to learn thieves descended on her property and stripped her newly completed home down to a shell of a structure.

Moosehorn-area house relieved of all its siding, trim, windows and exterior doors

Sarah Giancola was horrified to learn all the windows, doors and siding were stripped from a new structure built on her family farm near Moosehorn, in Manitoba's Interlake. The thieves also cut down a tree to steal a riding lawnmower that was secured by a chain. (Fin Giancola/Facebook)

The owner of a fifth-generation farm in the northern Interlake was shocked to learn thieves descended on her property and stripped her newly completed home down to a shell of a structure.

Winnipeg resident Sarah Giancola inherited her family's old farm in the Rural Municipality of Grahamdale a decade ago, when her mother died of cancer.

After digging a new well and working to restore the property, located about five kilometres north of Moosehorn, she had a new home constructed last year and intended to move into it permanently.

On Monday, her boyfriend checked in on the site and found all the siding had been stripped from the new home as well an outbuilding, along with all the trim, every window and every storm door.

"They thought it was a tornado, at first. But you'd see glass and broken things," she said of her boyfriend's first impression of the site.

Upon closer inspection, it turned out thieves had stripped away the exterior elements and also cut down a tree in order to steal a riding lawnmower that was secured by a chain.

"I guess they had a chainsaw. They cut it down, lifted the chain and took it all," she said.

Giancola estimates the loss at tens of thousands of dollars and said she had no insurance on the property.

She said RCMP in Ashern told her it would be all but impossible to recover the materials.

"It's really all a loss," she said, adding she could not recall another instance of a home being stripped in this manner in the Moosehorn area.  "I think this is one of a kind. I've never heard of it, being out there."

Sarah Giancola and her daughter Fin had been working on upgrading the property, which has been in the family for five generations. (Fin Giancola/Facebook)

Giancola said she was working to restore the property to its former condition, prior to the death of her mother. She said she has been crying since she first learned of the theft.

She said she still holds out some hope of recovering the materials, if they happen to have been used in the Moosehorn area.

"I was thinking of next weekend, going out and taking a ride outside of town, just to see any new houses going up or sheds. Because I know what the windows look like," she said. "The siding is red and white, so it's kind of hard to hide that."

Images of the property have also been placed on Facebook in the hopes of discovering where the materials went.

"We were trying to get it back to the way [it] was, when my family was born out there," Giancola said.

The siding on the property, prior to the theft. (Sarah Giancola/Submitted)

Moosehorn is located about 200 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg, on Highway 6, between Ashern and the turnoff to Steep Rock on Lake Manitoba.