Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Owner shocked to find it torn down

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TALK about a hot housing market.

City police said Friday a 36-year-old Winnipeg man faces charges for allegedly stealing a house.

Const. Jacqueline Chaput said the house was recently demolished to make way for a parking lot next to a Toronto Street apartment block -- without the homeowner's permission.

The homeowner, who police said lives out of province, found out his house was gone only when he went there to find out why the tenants had stopped paying their rent.

Both the demolished home at 684 Toronto St., and the recently renovated apartment block next to it, are owned by two unlisted numbered Alberta companies, according to city tax records.

The six-room, one-storey house was built in 1903 and was last assessed at $21,000.

Chaput said police believe in May 2006 a man contacted the owner of the house asking if he could buy it.

She said prior to completing the purchase, the man allegedly booted out the tenants and had the gas and hydro meters removed.

He was then able to get the necessary paperwork to have the house knocked down.

Ray Rybachuk faces charges of theft of property valued at more than $5,000 and mischief causing more than $5,000 in damage in relation to the home's demolition.

Rybachuk and his lawyer, Chris McCoy, were unavailable for comment.

The former tenants at 684 Toronto were also unavailable.

bruce.owen@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 14, 2007 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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