Former law student from Lincolnshire Erik Mukusauskas, 20, went unexpectedly viral in Lincolnshire after he moved to Greece without paying more than £1,000 he owes in rent.
His landlord, who does not wish to be named, was outraged when he found out that Erik had left the country without any warning, leaving behind debt.
He put a post on Facebook in order to find out the former student’s whereabouts, and this drew discussion. Mr Mikusauskas decided to respond to the public post with the message: ‘Catch me if you can!”
Despite the cheeky response, Mr Mukusauskas told Neos Kosmos that he intends to pay back his landlord, including any interest incurred within the next six months.”Unfortunately, it is true that I have not paid rent for the last three months of my tenancy, although the plan was for me to eventually be able to pay it back because fundamentally what I did was wrong.”
He said that he made the choice because he needed the money to be “settled in and financially stable” in Greece.
“Putting such a sensitive topic up on Facebook is not the right way to go about it, and you may have noticed that whilst the landlord himself did not wish to be named, I was demonised and made it sound like I didn’t care about the situation which is not true,” said Mr Mukauskas. “What I personally think the landlord should have done was contact me and discuss the situation instead of getting his friend to put a bounty of £100 in a popular town Facebook group which lead to a student news group making a story about it which then escalated and lead to the town newspaper making a story about it too.”
Feeling hunted, Mr Mikusauskas decided to comment with the phrase ‘Catch me if you can.’
“I do sympathise with him but at the same time he recently got caught drink driving and he has spent thousands (of pounds) on his case in lawyers fees,” Mr Mikusauskas said. “He’s not going to be financially ruined by my actions. He owns several properties in the area.”
Mr Mikusauskas said he did not expect the matter to receive the publicity it has. “I’ve gotten lots of attention on Twitter, even though I don’t have a single follower there,” he said, advising students who owe money to their landlord to “explore all possible routes to sorting the problem.” In retrospect, he would have done things differently. “What I shouldhave done was keep him more informed, and not keep him in the dark about it.”
Currently in Athens, Mr Mikusauskas received a job offer with a relocation package. “I went to Greece because I think it’s a beautiful country and I saw my opportunity for a better life,” he said, adding that his company has put him up in a hotel but he’s sure that soon he will be able to find a nice and affordable place to live.
It’s all a new and exciting adventure for Mr Mikusauskas.
“So far everyone I’ve met has been super friendly and helpful, and I’m excited to start learning the language and exploring this amazing city one street at a time,” he said, adding that he is not Greek and has a Lithuanian background.
“I didn’t come for a holiday,” he said. “I came to start a career.”