Friday, May 9, 2014

Bulldozer Mad

Judging from a handful of posts on this blog, some might begin to wonder if anyplace and anyone is as nutty as the Japanese. Fear not because looney tunes are played all over the world and a good many of the craziest stories are born right here in the USA. Whether it be here or there, no one country holds the monopoly on screwy behavior and the daily papers are full of stories about people acting out unbelievable nutzoid scenarios.

Florida has its fair share of crazy, let no one tell you otherwise. St Augustine is a city on Florida’s northeast coast founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers and famous as the oldest continuously occupied European-established settlement and port in the US. For 200 years it served as the capital of Spanish Florida. Since the late 19th century, the city’s historical character has made it a major tourist attraction. I have visited St Augustine and remember being delighted by its old world colonial ambience. Despite its beauty and antique charm, not surprisingly the city also has in its back streets at least one person we could describe as completely bananas.

At one time or another most of us have endured neighbors we didn’t care for or didn’t get along with. Might be uncomfortable at times, but most of us find a way to live with the problem and keep things civilized. Ana Maria Moreta Folch, a resident of St Augustine doesn’t get along with her neighbors and claiming she was doing the neighborhood a favor, took a drastic step. Deciding she didn't like the kind of people her neighbors are, Ms Folch solved the problem with a bulldozer.

She called a land-clearing company and asked that a bulldozer come out and demolish ‘her’ trailer on Dusty Road. She told the workman who came with a bulldozer that she owned the trailer they were standing in front of, showing him a key to the place and explaining that no one lived there and she wanted the trailer and septic tank destroyed. Of course, the real owner of the trailer, Maria Gottfried was not at home. Taking Ms Folch at her word, the man and his bulldozer got busy.

When Mrs Gottfried got home and saw her house reduced to a heap of rubble she immediately called the Sheriff’s Office. She told police she had owned the mobile home since 2006 and never had fights or disagreements with Ms Folch, but had certainly not given the woman a key to her home. Ms Folch, on the other hand described her neighbor as an unsavory character she suspected of breaking into her car.

For her bulldozer attack Ms Folch was charged with criminal mischief (!) resulting in $25,000 in damage. She was later released on $10,000 bail.

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America