This situation came to light around 2010. My family lived in the same house for my entire life. I was the youngest of 4 sisters and continued to live with my parents while I went to college. Around 2005 they decided to sell the house and purchase a condo in a new development. My next oldest sister, T, was the only one besides me not owning her own home, so my parents decided to sell the house (3 bedroom, 2 bath) to her for an amazing price. T also got the entire shed full of tools, a sauna, and most of the furnishings including 2-bedrooms sets, couches, kitchen appliances and dining room table. T was often down on her luck, on one bad situation of her own making or another, as well as one bad relationship after another. My parents saw this as the chance for her to have a stable life and a good home for her teenaged daughter. At the time T was engaged and the house was put into her fiance’s name at her request, since T was on section 8 housing as her fiance’s “tenant” and owning a home would put an end to her benefits. (I should mention she is always into one scheme or another, something which usually ends-up hurting the family financially or emotionally to the point that only my mom will still speak with her.) She presents herself as the most loving and caring person to friends who have never seen the darker side and cultivates deep relationships with non-family members who think she is the most amazing person and so she gets the ego boosts she lives for. This is the same sister who told me once that the reason our mom was sick and needed to take medication was because she had me. The same sister who threw me over the fence for the neighbor’s guard dog. The same sister who, when the family turns on her for her indiscretions makes a suicide attempt so that we’ll all feel sorry for her and back-off (her attempts are always such that she makes sure she is caught and thus is never in real danger of actually dying). Believe me, this is all relevant. She was actually getting a little better once she settled into the house. We were actually closer than we’d been before.
During the move, we found that we would not have enough room at the condo for my great-grandfather’s upright piano; dad’s grandfather’s piano on his dad’s side. It was a beautiful piece from a very well known company. Also, we would not have room in the carport for my 18-foot wooden sea kayak. These items were worth between $8,000-$10,000 and $2,000-$3,000 respectively. My sister did not have much of her own and said we were welcome to continue to store the items in the basement of the house for as long as we wanted. Everything seemed fine. I moved out-of-state in 2007 and again, did not have room in the moving van or my apartment for the kayak. T even visited me regularly. Come 2010 I finally moved into a house. I finally had a place for my kayak and could not wait to bring it back with me when I went back home to visit. You can see where this is going, right?
I called my dad regarding the upcoming trip and asked if he could help me strap the kayak to the car when I returned. He seemed REALLY uncomfortable and dropped this bombshell on me. In 2006 a friend of his was looking for some sheet music. Dad offered to give him his old music, which was stored in the seat of the piano bench. He asked T when would be a good time for him to go get the music. That’s when she told him that she hadn’t actually purchased that hot tub she had, she’d traded OUR GREAT-GRANDFATHER’S PIANO for it! The icing on the cake was when dad gave voice to his suspicion about what else she’d let us “store” and asked point-blank, “Do you at least still have your sister’s kayak?” No, she had traded MY KAYAK for the installation and electrical work for the hot tub! And for 4 years had visited me, phoned me, etc. all the while being a liar and a thief. She never could have done it without her fiance, now husband, knowing, so he was just as guilty! I was distraught for myself and dad both and asked him why hadn’t he said anything to me. He told me that he didn’t know how to break it to me and, knowing the way that T and her friends treat their possessions, he didn’t want me to see my kayak in a ruined state. He said he should have been more suspicious when T mentioned shortly after the move that the piano had so much brass inside and that she was curious how much it was worth; why she was looking inside the body of the piano I have no clue. She apparently also mentioned that a friend of hers was an avid kayaker and was admiring mine.
He DID confront her when he found out and asked her how she could have done such a thing, but she was having none of it and saw it only as a personal attack against her. Dad even offered to BUY the items back, but she threatened that, if he “embarrassed” her like that, that she would take an ax to both items and leave the pieces in the condo driveway. He pretty much cut off all ties with T except when it came to the welfare of her daughter who ended up living with them at the condo anyway because T had slipped right back into her old habits and was unbearable to live with, as well as continuing to smoke in the house and keeping a dozen cats, even though her daughter has asthma and is allergic to cats! Speaking of being embarrassed, she actually confronted my dad over this whole situation several months later when our grandfather, dad’s father, passed…AT HIS FUNERAL!
I haven’t spoken to T since my dad broke this news to me. 2 years. I haven’t written or sent anything to her or Mr. T for the holidays and blocked her from Facebook. She sent me a sappy card this past Christmas, but that went in the trash. I am still so angry that dad didn’t go to the police and have the items reported stolen, but knowing T she would have claimed that they had been “abandoned” since it had been so long or some other excuse, and most certainly would have found a way to have them destroyed before they could ever be returned to us. How could someone who claims to love you lie to your face for 4 years and turn on you like a rabid badger? I am still considering legal action against her, but am running out of time. (I believe the statute would begin from the time I learned about the theft, not from the time the theft actually occurred). But I also am afraid of how CRAZY she is, and how horrible she could make my life even from several states away if I get on her bad side. I would never see a dime of any money I might be awarded anyway. I thought of asking for something of equal value; her husband is a gunsmith and 2 high quality guns would equal the value of my kayak. On the other hand, I feel like I just want her out of my life for good. 0621-12
T would not have wanted me as a parent. I would have heard the threat to damage the piano and kayak via ax as a lot of bluster and called her bluff. And if she had had the audacity and criminal mind to actually do it, there are far more serous problems in the family than merely entitlement.
I see this often where one child has deficiencies in character for whatever reason and the parents, out of a sense of misplaced pity, facilitate the behavior. It’s as if the child is a skilled con artist who extracts all kinds of financial and emotional benefits from the parents by means of manipulation and often at the expense of the other siblings. Getting the house, shed tools, and many other extras at a very competitive price was not enough for the OP’s sister. Rather than gratitude, she has an entitled expectation that her father’s piano and sister’s kayak were hers as well so that she can acquire a hot tub basically at no cost to herself but at considerable cost to the OP and her dad. (There will be some commentators who will note that leaving possessions in another’s house does present some legal issues regarding adverse possession. However, both the piano and kayak were gone from the house quickly, within a year of T taking ownership of the house and agreeing to keep these items in storage. And familial courtesy should surely apply here by requesting the OP and her father to please remove these items from the basement.)
You learned a very expensive lesson, OP, to never leave anything of value with your sister, that she will assume she is entitled to own anything of yours that happens to not be nailed down,and that she will exploit her parents. I’d drop the idea of getting any compensation and chalk it up to being the one time you “bailed” out your sister and never do it again.
Good luck, OP. Because as your parents continue to grow older and become less competent to handle their own affairs, your sister is a position to exploit them further. And hold on for the ride when your parents die. I’m afraid your stories to Ehell are not over yet.