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Tiny Home Is Stolen by a Big Bad Guy — Then Found

Yuletide setback has a very happy ending

A Missouri woman has much to celebrate this Christmas after all.

What started off as a yuletide setback for St. Louis resident Megan Panu (shown above) is turning into something merry and bright.

Panu was notified last Saturday that her mobile home, which she built piece by piece and with the help of friends at a cost of $20,000, had vanished, according to WTHR, the NBC-affiliated station in Indiana.

Her home seemed to have just disappeared.

Panu reported her missing home on social media.

While it’s typical for bandits, this time of year, to be on the prowl for items like smartphones, TVs, or computers — typical burglars’ loot — plundering someone’s actual home and carting it away is something entirely out of the ordinary.

“It’s not just a trailer that was stolen, or car. It’s an actual home,” Panu said at the time, according to WTHR.

Bricks and boards, in fact, were all that remained at the site where Panu once parked her tiny home.

For Panu, though, a few days have made a huge difference.

And she may be grasping that right about now.

Earlier on Wednesday, Jefferson County Sherriff Dave Marshak said that detectives found the tiny home stolen from south St. Louis last weekend, according to reporting to Fox 2 News, based in St. Louis. It was found in House Springs, Missouri.

Authorities were working to notify the owner about the discovery, Marshak added.

“I believe the owner [appeared] on several local news channels [discussing the lost home].”

Sherriff Marshak shared the upbeat news on Wednesday morning on Twitter — and then some.

“More good news on the Tiny House Recovered,” he wrote.

“Ives Towing in Hillsboro is giving the owner an early Christmas present  — There will be no charge for the towing/recovery.”

Police are waiting for Panu to reclaim her home, which she started building from scratch two years ago as part of her senior thesis in environmental studies at Webster University, a private university in Webster Groves, Missouri, according to Fox 2.

Related: Random Act of Kindness Ahead of Christmas Has Ripple Effect

Her effort had started as a trailer and a plan to live with less.

She said some unique features on her tiny home make it easily identifiable, including two large green windows, the brown stained cedar siding, and the tin roof.

With traditional home ownership out of reach for many Americans, tiny homes — some barely the size of storage containers — are gaining traction as more folks, like Panu herself, are looking to limit their impact on the environment, simplify their life, and live more frugally.

Others simply prefer the “less is more” arrangement.

Elizabeth Economou is a former CNBC staff writer and adjunct professor. Follow her on Twitter.