A Calgary home that the owner says was claimed as an “embassy” by a follower of the Freemen-on-the-Land movement is now freemen-free.
The beige-brick, bungalow-style duplex that Rebekah Caverhill rented to Andreas Pirelli in November 2011 had two police cars, one in front and the other in a side alley, parked near it Saturday morning.
Mr. Pirelli, 48, who is also known as Mario Antonacci, was arrested early Friday morning by Calgary Police on outstanding warrants from Quebec.
A half dozen followers remained in the home immediately after his arrest but requested police assistance to leave later in the day.
“A caller had requested assistance for a group of people contained within the residence which were looking to leave,” said Calgary Police Duty Insp. Darrell Hesse.
“Apparently there was some concern on their part that there were some angry citizens outside and they may erupt when those people left.”
After the group left in advance of a court eviction order, police did a thorough search of the home which was empty. The locks were also changed on the doors.
“We’re just maintaining the continuity of that residence,” Mr. Hesse said.
“We’re quite confident that there are no persons residing in that residence.”
Ms. Caverhill rented the home to Mr. Pirelli after he came at the recommendation of a friend and promised to fix the place up in exchange for a few months’ free rent. But she said he soon identified himself as a follower of the Freemen-on-the-Land movement, claimed the property as an embassy, changed the locks and placed a lien on the home.
Now the two-year ordeal is over.
“The nightmare’s over. The nightmare’s over,” Ms. Caverhill told The Canadian Press Saturday.
“I’m glad it’s over. I can sort of relax and say the next step is to do my ‘Oh My God’ inspection. I’m looking forward to that like a skunk at a frat party.”
Mr. Pirelli was accused of pushing a landlady down a flight of stairs in Montreal in 2007. Jocelyne Malouf alleges that he broke her pelvis, arm, wrist and ankle. Ms. Malouf said she was then picked up and thrown onto the street. An arrest warrant was issued in May 2010 when he failed to show up during his assault trial.
Police in Montreal are preparing for his return.
“Our investigators are still working on the case,” said Montreal police spokesman Const. Simon Delorme.
“The list of accusations that the Freemen-on-the-Land individual who was arrested will have to face when he appears in court in the following days in Montreal include breaking and entering, two accusations of mischief, uttering threats and also intimidation.”
Repeated email requests for comment from Mr. Pirelli over the last week were not returned. He had previously responded to a request for comment about Ms. Caverhill’s allegations with a warning that he has trademark claims on the name “Andreas Pirelli” and “The First Nations Sovran Embassy of Earth.”
Earlier this week, The Canadian Press was faxed a fee schedule for the alleged unauthorized use of copyrighted names, including Andreas Pirelli and Mario Antonacci. The fax says the fee is $1 million for each use of each name.
The Law Society of British Columbia and B.C. Notaries have issued warnings about Freemen and, in a bulletin last year, the society estimated the group could number as many as 30,000 in Canada.
RCMP and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police are developing awareness materials for front-line officers and the movement is the subject of upcoming policing seminars in Vancouver and Toronto.
The FBI considers the movement a domestic terror threat in the United States, but a Freemen-on-the-Land spokesman told The Canadian Press earlier this month it does not advocate violence and it has no place in the movement.
“I don’t think people have seen the last of these Freemen-on-the-Land. I just don’t,” said Ms. Caverhill.
“I still think that people are going to buy into it and they’re going to do their little schtick. I hope it doesn’t escalate but what do I know?”