'Freeman-on-the-Land' tenant arrested by Calgary police
Published Friday, September 27, 2013 7:55AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, September 27, 2013 10:39PM EDT
A man who called himself a "Freeman-on-the-Land" and declared a Calgary rental home as an embassy is now in police custody.
Andreas Pirelli was arrested without incident by Calgary police early Friday morning on as many as nine warrants issued by courts in Quebec.
Calgary District 2 Insp. Terry Larson said the warrants were initially made in Montreal and extended to Canada-wide warrants.
Pirelli will stay in police custody for up to six days before he is transported to Quebec, where he is known as Mario Antonacci.
Pirelli had rented a duplex home in Calgary from retiree Rebekah Caverhill in 2011, but shortly after declared the unit an embassy and refused to leave.
Caverhill said she rented the property to Pirelli for reduced rent in exchange for his doing some renovations and maintenance. She claims he owes her as much as $10,000 in rent.
Camille Sokol, a resident of the Calgary neighbourhood said she's relieved the situation has been resolved. "I’m sure the landlords are happy," Sokol told CTV Calgary.
She described the situation as "unusual," saying she never expected something like this to happen in the area.
"I'd never met [Pirelli] and it was a little weird because you never expect to have anything wrong in this neighbourhood. It's pretty nice here and its right by a school. It's just very unusual."
Caverhill also said he gutted the bathroom and kitchen, changed the locks and declared the home a sovereign embassy. He then sent her a bill for $26,000 for his work and put a lien on the house.
She said he ignored a previous eviction notice, arguing that he was part of the “Freemen-on-the Land” movement and that Canadian laws do not apply to him.
Pirelli was ordered earlier this week to pay the rent and utilities owed, as well as leave the duplex by 12:01 a.m. Saturday.
After hearing news of the arrest Friday, Caverhill said she felt relieved and grateful.
“I don’t know what I’m walking into when I walk in there, but that's nothing. Bricks and boards can be fixed, but there are some things that are far more precious than bricks and boards -- that's the idea of freedom and standing up for what you think is right,” she told The Canadian Press.
Other individuals remained in the house Friday afternoon, but authorities are preparing to move them out over the weekend.
Also this week, a Montreal landlady said that Pirelli -- then going by Antonacci -- moved into her apartment in 2007 before he declared it as an embassy and stopped paying rent.
Jocelyne Malouf told The Canadian Press that he assaulted her after she threatened to call the police.
An arrest warrant was issued in May 2010 after Pirelli failed to show during his assault trial.
With files from CTV Calgary's Bill Marks and The Canadian Press