HOUSE SPRINGS, Mo. (KTVI) — Jefferson County Sherriff Dave Marshak says that detectives found a tiny home about 30 miles from where it was stolen from south St. Louis this weekend.
The home was located Wednesday morning, and deputies were working to locate the owner, Meghan Panu, whose story of the loss of her tiny home had gone viral.
“I believe the owner was on several local news channels,” Marshak said.
The home is being stored at Ives Towing in Hillsboro. Police say they are giving Panu an early Christmas present by not charging her for towing and recovery of her home.
Panu was building a tiny house in south St. Louis when she got a call Saturday morning (Dec. 15) asking her if she had moved her tiny home overnight. She had not.
She called St. Louis city offices to see if her tiny home had been towed from where it was parked for the past month and a half near Gravois and Michigan avenues. It had not.
Panu’s tiny home had been stolen.
She told our St. Louis affiliate KTVI Fox 2 after the theft that the possibility she may not get her tiny home back was “devastating.”
She began building the tiny home as part of her senior thesis in environmental studies at Webster University. It started as a trailer and a plan to live with less. She had been working on the tiny house for nearly two years and had documented her journey on social media along the way.
During the construction phase, she kept the trailer in Ballwin, Webster Groves, and then south city.
“We were working eight-hour days, several days out of the week,” she said. “So, I would go from my classes at Webster, and I would drive out to Ballwin and work on the house, and I loved that. I loved the hustle of that.”
Panu had plans to move the tiny house again this week to an intentional living community which would showcase shipping container homes, Earthbag homes, and other tiny homes. She intends to move into the tiny house in the spring.
Panu estimates she invested $20,000 dollars into her tiny home — $1,500 of which she received from the public through a GoFundMe campaign, but the money was not the part that upset her most about the theft.
“There’s such little regard for the effort, and the time, and the love that I’ve put into this, and I think that’s what’s the most frustrating to me — that it’s not just a material possession. It’s not just a car. It’s a place where I was going to sort of build roots and grow in my community.”
Panu said there are some unique features on her tiny home that make it easily identifiable, including two large green windows, the brown stained cedar siding, and the tin roof.