HICKORY Hunger Games movie buffs and other sightseers will no longer be allowed on a property that served as the home of the popular movies heroine.
Wade Shepherd said people will no longer be allowed on the property of Henry River Mill Village without his written consent. Shepherd made the decision after dealing with brazen vandalism.
Because of theft and destroying things, I dont want anybody else on the village, he said.
Rather than just sightseeing from the safe distance of the sidewalks of the property, folks have been taking everything from wooden boards from the old store to window frames from homes.
Shepherd said he found six girls from Raleigh each taking a window frame and putting them in their cars. He told them to put the frames back, but they initially refused. Only after he threatened to call police did the girls put the window frames back, he said.
It doesnt stop there, however. Shepherd said people are even crawling under the houses now to take mementos.
The old mill village houses arent safe, Shepherd said.
Theyre everywhere theyre not supposed to be, Shepherd said. Theyre just pilfering through everything.
The Hunger Games, starred Jennifer Lawrence as heroine Katniss Everdeen, who volunteers to take her sisters place in a futuristic game where a totalitarian government forces two dozen boys and girls to fight to the death.
In June, Shepherd threatened to close the property to the public due to vandalism and littering. He later relented after a man from Asheville who conducts Hunger Games tours heard about the littering from news reports and took it upon himself to show up at the property and clean up the trash left behind by fans.
The biggest target for vandalism was the old mill village store, which stood in as a bakery in The Hunger Games. The words pastries and cakes were painted on the wood siding on either side of the front door of the building. After the movie wrapped up filming on the site, those words were left on the old store.
Eventually, the boards with the word pastries were stolen. Shepherd said he has replaced the boards and had them painted.
People from across the country are still flocking to the village to see the place that became the home district of the movies heroine Katniss Everdeen.
Shepherd said he will post signs throughout the property warning people to stay away and police will be patrolling the area more.
I hate to do it but its just necessary, Shepherd said.
Shepherd has been trying to sell the 72-acre village, with an asking price of $1.4 million.
Numerous people have shown interest in the buying the property but a sale has not happened. The SyFy Channels show Hollywood Treasure featured the property last summer. Shepherd allowed the SyFy show to film on the property and put the property up for silent auction but that, too, failed to get a buyer for it.
Shepherd said he is supposed to meet soon with a man from another country about buying the property. He recently met with another man who wanted to buy it but he didnt have enough money; he is trying to get partners to join him on the purchase.