Husband demolishes house owned by wife in Middletown

Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Husband allegedly bulldozes wife's home
Carolina Leid reports from Middletown.

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. -- Talk about a domestic dispute, "The War of the Roses" doesn't have anything on one Orange County couple.

"None of my belongings were taken out. Everything was in the house. I'm in shock, still I'm in shock," said Diane Andryshak, the home owner.

Diane Andryshak can't understand why her husband tore down their Middletown home.

Police say 48-year-old James Rhein rented an excavator and knocked down the single family home Monday morning with all of their belongs inside.

Diane says she came home to an empty lot and still hasn't gotten any answers from her husband of nine years.

"I don't know what happened. I don't know anything. I know that when I got here he was already down at the police station. We were not fighting, we were not arguing," Andryshak said.

Police confirm Rhein's wife is the legal owner of the house.

The couple was in the middle of a renovation, so Diane and her neighbors say they don't understand what he was thinking.

"I asked him just kidding around if he was going to knock down the house with a bulldozer, and he said, 'Yeah.' I thought he was kidding. So I went to work and when I came back this is what we found," said Steve Belfiglio, a neighbor.

"His wife said that her whole house was demolished with everything in it. He just tore the whole house down," said Clarisa Jennings, a neighbor.

Rhein allegedly told investigators that the house on Woodland Avenue was in such bad shape that it couldn't be repaired so he got rid of it.

The problem is he didn't get a permit and they're now homeless.

"I have family and friends, right now I'm staying with a friend," Andryshak said. "I don't have any answers for you, I don't have any answers for you whatsoever."

Fortunately no one was hurt.

Rhein is charged with criminal mischief and was released on $300 bail.