When a man came home, a stranger opened the door. His ID — and house — had been stolen

A man returned to England from a business trip in Wales to find his house key didn't work. Things got weirder when a stranger opened the door. And weirder yet when another stranger — the father of the so-called "new owner" of the house — arrived and told the man, "You are trespassing. Get out."

On November 1, the BBC reported that while Reverend Mike Hall, from southeast England, was out of town, someone had stolen his identity and sold his house, which he had owned for 30 years.

Mr Hall, who was away from the property and working in north Wales, said he received a call from his neighbours on 20 August, saying that someone was in the house and all the lights were on.

The following morning, he drove there.

"I went to the front door, tried my key in the front door, it didn't work and a man opened the front door to me," he told BBC Radio 4's You and Yours.

"I pushed him to one side and got in the property. I really didn't know what he was doing there.

"The shock of seeing the house completely stripped of furniture; all furnishings, carpet, curtains – everything – was out of the property."

The man said he was doing building work, to which Mr Hall replied: "I haven't sold the house. This is still my property."

Mr Hall phoned the police, but the builder left and returned with the new owner's father, who said he had bought the terraced house in July, adding: "It is now my property. You are now trespassing. Get out."

At first, police said there was nothing they could do about it — it was a "civil matter."

"I was shocked – having seen the house in the state it was, I was in a bit of a state of shock anyway – but then to be told by the police they didn't believe a criminal offense had been committed here was just unbelievable," he told the BBC, who helped connect him with investigators.

And just a few days later, on Thursday, a suspect was arrested.

From Vice:

A man from Bedford was arrested on Thursday in connection to the alleged fraudulent sale, said Bedfordshire Police. 

Detective Inspector James Day, head of the serious fraud investigation unit, said:  "I can only imagine the anxiety and stress the victim has had to endure in this unusual and sophisticated case. My team of specialist officers is determined to get justice for him."

Although the crime of stealing someone else's house is uncommon, it is not unheard of.

Over the last five years, 196 fraudulent applications to the Land Registry – worth over £100 million – have been stopped. Over the same period, the Land Registry has paid out £12,500,000 to victims of property fraud in cases where the registry has changed the name of the owner on the register or added a mortgage incorrectly.