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Man Demolishes Neighbor's House Over $80 Debt

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By Jason Beahm on March 15, 2011 7:10 AM

What would you do if your neighbor owed you $80?

Jack Herbst allegedly went on a rampage with a front-end loader and destroyed 12 years of Ronald Morphis's work: a hand-built brick garage, a two-bedroom addition, a trailer, propane tank, two campers, farm equipment, electrical lines, phone lines, over a dozen elm trees, a 1956 Jeep and a 1949 Chevy pickup.

The damage is estimated at $250,000, the Colorado Springs Gazette reports.

Jack Herbst was arrested and charged with criminal mischief in the incident and is being held in the El Paso County Jail on $10,000 bond. Criminal mischief in Colorado is knowingly damaging the property of another or the joint property of the accused person and the alleged victim. 

"Herbst lives on the property next to him," Ronald Morphis' sister, Loranne McLaughlin said. "Jack and my brother hayed together, they mowed together. When he lost part of his hand in an accident, my brother helped him out." She said that the incident began when Morphis agreed to buy a trailer from Herbst for $400 but only paid $320. However, Morphis was especially confused because the two apparently never had even reached the stage of an argument. Morphis was planning to pay Herbst the $80 when he got paid on Friday, she said, the Gazette reports.

Herbst allegedly left a voice mail saying: "I want my $80 or I'm going to flatten everything" Ronnie owns, McLaughlin said. "He's destroyed my life," McLaughlin said her brother told her. "He's destroyed everything I owned."

Jack Herbst, initially denied causing the destruction to Ronald Morphis's property, but later confessed, according to McLaughlin. It wouldn't have been hard to construct the case anyway, as police found tire tracks leading to Herbst's employer's property.

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