Image courtesy of Creative Commons

The following stories were submitted to Remodeling by readers when we asked for your scariest remodeling stories.

Close Encounter
James Schell, James C. Schell Renovations

At a jobsite one morning in late January, [my employee] Tom was surprised to see a 20-something male wearing a leather jacket exit the passenger side of my van. Tom asked what he wanted and the guy said he was with James Kitchens. He tried to chat with the guy as the mystery man moved toward the back of the van past Tom and into the open garage. I walked into the garage and asked what I could do for him. He leaned in and said, “Hide me.” Surprised, I said, “What?” He said, “Don’t tell anyone I’m here.” Then I remembered the sirens in the area no more than 30 minutes ago. Tom disappeared and we heard him let out a loud whistle to flag down the cops.

The perpetrator slid past me and ran into the client’s house. I followed him, grabbed him by his coat and tried to pull him back into the garage. He shed the coat and ran through the kitchen to the Florida room. I headed him off in the living room. At that time, a small army of police flooded in. Guns drawn, they yelled at everyone to raise their hands and get down on the floor. I dropped. Boots stepped over me and I heard a scuffle in the dining room. I remained motionless until I heard Tom tell me to get up. The police had cuffed the intruder and escorted him out.

We later learned that the guy was part of a gang who’d been stealing contractors’ equipment in Lancaster, Pa. Two of his accomplices were apprehended several hours before. He’d taken off in a stolen truck towing a trailer filled with stolen tools. One officer heard the APB, saw the vehicle, and gave chase into my client’s neighborhood. Police punctured his tires with a tack strip and he veered into the backyards, driving through six before abandoning the truck. Sneaking through the yards, he must have thought that he’d found new transportation when he saw my van. But unfortunately for him, I don’t leave my keys in the van.

Lined with Terror
Joe Prin, HomeFix Inc.

A few years back, my remodeling company was finishing a project for a repeat customer. We converted her 1910 carriage house's garage to a very fancy garden potting shed complete with bathroom, work bench, cooling system, and tea and reading nook. We cleaned up, walked through, hugged, and talked about what the the next job might be.

Two weeks later, she called wanting to know if I was ever going to put her clothes line back up. I couldn't remember taking a clothes line down. She said there was a clothes line and she had the hardware to prove it. Curiosity was killing me so I went right over and in seconds, I saw the problem. I explained, "[Anne], that was not a clothes line. Those are porcelain insulators and that was your sagging old power line we took out! When we redid the garage, we trenched and put in buried conduit!" She was a very lucky woman for quite a few years. And yes, I did install an actual clothes line.

Bang Bang
Tom Gill, Chesapeake, Va.

Years ago, a client hired me to replace their trash can enclosure behind their house. After scheduling the work with the client, we agreed I would start the following Saturday. After unloading materials, I started laying out the baseplates. Although I heard neighbors in the yard next door, I did not pay much attention due to focusing on my layout measurements. After squaring up the base, I started to shoot in the plates to the driveway with the Hilti gun.

All of the sudden I heard the mother next door scream to her children to get inside and stay there until she figured out where the shots were coming from. Before she could get to her phone, I stopped to reassure her it was me with my anchoring tool and was not a disgruntled contractor. Upon hearing the noise the homeowner came out to see what the commotion was all about and why her neighbor seemed to be upset. I explained to her, too, the anchoring tool and typical process. After being reassured everything was safe, the children were invited to come back out and play.

Have your own scary story? Leave it in the comments below.