'Sharpie parties' deface foreclosed homes

Summoned by social media, gangs of young people vandalize houses during alcohol-fueled gatherings.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Aug 20, 2012 12:49PM

© DreamPictures/Getty ImagesVandalism of vacant homes has been one of the curses of the foreclosure crisis.


In California, authorities are reporting another rash of what are called "Sharpie parties," big boozy parties in which young people deface vacant homes.


At least a few of the gatherings, named for a brand of markers, apparently were inspired by the movie "Project X," in which a party gets out of hand and results in damage to one of the hosts' home. We didn't find any references to foreclosure or Sharpies in the descriptions of the film, and we're not sure how the vandalism got that label.


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"The Sharpie party is the newest twist here," Larry Morse, the district attorney in Merced County, Calif., told Reuters. His office has investigated at least six such events.

The parties are announced on Facebook and Twitter, which helped police in Merced County arrest three young men earlier this month who are accused of doing major damage to a home from which the family of one man had been evicted.

"For someone to commit these flat-out destructive crimes on a property, for them not to think they were going to get caught eventually is just ridiculous because of the number of people that are out there taking video and posting pictures," Wayne Hutton, an investigator with the Merced district attorney's office, told The Merced Sun-Star.

The vandalism isn't confined to writing on the walls. Revelers have also smashed holes in walls, trashed carpets, pulled off doors, destroyed appliances and left other damage. While this doesn't appear to be a widespread trend, a handful of other such parties caused serious damage to foreclosed homes in Florida, Texas and Utah.


Nationwide, thousands of foreclosed homes have been damaged by acts of vandalism that didn't involve parties, social media or catchy names. Some of the damage has been done by owners angry over the foreclosure.


Sep 6, 2012 7:13AM

The homes need to be repainted anyways--

The whole deal is wrong for sure but it's not like these homes are in pristine condition to begin with.


Thanks Dodd/Frank!!!


Sep 6, 2012 7:11AM

Reading some of these comments its no surprise we ended up in this mess.  If you really think that banks want to foreclose on people, you are an idiot.  They want people to pay the loans that they agreed to.  There is nothing greedy about expecting a person to honor a bargain that they agreed to in the first place.  I can't believe the amount of posts thinking that bankers are out to destroy lives.  You people are really stupid.

Sep 6, 2012 6:58AM
When the banks stole these houses and threw out the occupants, they should have realized that they would now need to provide security and grounds keeping.  I guess they don't care as the TARP money they stole from the rest of the population will cover the losses.
Sep 6, 2012 6:56AM
The banks wanted those homes and now they should be responsible for the security of those homes by paying city and states for more police to patrol all of those empty homes they wanted so bad.  You know all the homes the banks left open to become what ever they are used for today. The bank didn't think those homes were good enough for family .  Now the banks can pay for what those homes are used for today.   Time for the bank to be responsible and protect people from what those homes have become.           DUTY CALLS
Sep 6, 2012 6:50AM
Janet Kwak is hot! Donald Duck thinks so too!!
Sep 6, 2012 6:25AM
Serves the banks right for kicking people out of their homes for not being able to afford their mortgage payments just so they can let the house sit empty and get no payments at all. Why the hell did the banks get the bailout money instead of the real victims of their predatory lending practices?
Sep 6, 2012 6:05AM

I don't understand how it is the bank's fault if you made the decision to buy something then couldn't afford it.  I guess it is the same reason it is the governments fault for you not being able to buy everything you want in life, or your boss's fault for you not being president of the company, or your mother's fault for your eating disorder...


I suppose just because it is a bank, they have unlimited money and can afford to take massive losses by allowing you to make partial payments on your already insanely low interest 30 year loan.  Of course if it were YOUR money, it would be an entirely different story.. If your employer came to you and said it has been a bad year and you have to get paid partially for a while until things get better, there would be anarchy.. but since it is the banks with their unlimited money, it should be a law that they have to take partial payments.. FOR SOMETHING YOU AGREED TO PAY FOR..


And no, stripping a house of its value by selling off the things that would be sold with it under normal circumstances is NOT OK.. It DOESN'T belong to you, you borrowed money on it and until that money is paid in full, it is NOT YOUR HOUSE!  You can't sell it without the permission of the bank, in part or in full, unless you can pay off your mortgage first.  People walking away from a house to allow foreclosure are probably going to never be held accountable for it.. sure, their credit will be trashed, and sure they might get a judgement against them for it, but they still won't pay, and even if they eventually do, the bank is already out so much money from fighting it legally that they still lose out big.  In the end, the banks have to make up the losses elsewhere, and that means higher rates and higher fees for everyone.. including small businesses, who rely on banks to make up for slow cash flow all the time, which means layoffs, downsizing, and lower wages.. good job people, you just screwed yourselves over, but at least you "stuck it to the big banks" right?



Sep 6, 2012 6:01AM
Our country has it's share of problems when things are done like this it will hurt us all and the people who did this our country will go to hell.   We would all live in a pig pen all of the people you and me care about please look at the big picture I wish everyone could read this before the point of no return love your country enough not to do this. And I know people are in pain and want to get even. But this will not only hurt the bank in the end it will hurt us all.        PLEASE CONSIDER THANK YOU
Sep 6, 2012 5:53AM
good idea, but targeting the wrong houses. go after the bank board members, the senior stock brokers and managers, the lobbyists, corporate lawyers, greedy politicians, and such. the people who are robbing us blind. sharpie, trash and burn their first and second homes, their summer homes, and the vacation spot they currently occupy. do you think they will feel the pain of living in their car? maybe not, but it will still pizz them off.  
Sep 6, 2012 5:48AM
Sweet!! If forclosures start costing big banks big money maybe they will be more open to working with the people that they are kicking! Now... Where is my sharpie?
Sep 6, 2012 5:47AM

These ****ers will "grow up" to become the next wave of the Occupy Movement.

Sep 6, 2012 5:45AM
I say when they catch the kids make them work with a contractor to fix the damaged houses, and also fine them for the amount that the contractor would be paid.  Kids are too FREE to do what they want, and this is what happens because they are bored.  PUT THEM TO WORK!!! 
Sep 6, 2012 5:43AM
@skibum609 & eam30 - sorry you're so disappointed in those kids from the 80s & beyond.  But guess what?  It was your generation that raised them.  Look in the mirror before you throw stones.
Sep 6, 2012 5:36AM
Banks make for good crooks they are just not good about being fair to home owners and try to work things out they want to be in control. Lets see how they handle people who can be just as mean as them not very well from what I can see. Anyone could have damaged those homes I think the banks should wise up and stop trying to be a wiseass.  It's clear this stance is not working    DU. 
Sep 6, 2012 5:33AM
Thank you MSN for sharing the idea with the kids who didn't already know about this.  I'm sure their "Jackass", Youtube, Epic Fail little gears are turning already about some vacant home in their area.
Sep 6, 2012 5:32AM
This is scary because a house next to my house foreclosed (because owners committed a crime and went to jail) and kids were breaking in during the day to party.  My elderly mother is home alone.  What if those kids decided to go out and explore the neighborhood while both drunk and high?  They might break into more houses with people home alone.  It's not safe to have these empty houses unsecure.  Maybe police should check them periodically and make sure kids aren't using them for "drug dens" and party houses?
Sep 6, 2012 5:24AM


let the owners STAY in their houses and accept what they can afford to pay....

DUH !!

Sep 6, 2012 5:01AM
I don't support this, nor would I be happy if my kid was taking part however there is one good thing about all this:  it will make banks think twice about letting homes sit vacant waiting to put them on the market in order to keep prices propped up.  It might also encourage them to work more with the original home "owner."  Having been through the process of trying to get a modification (spouse lost job and no other companies in the area in that industry), then getting foreclosed on AND then being on the other side with a family member purchasing a house for us to rent from them (we get promised landlord stability and they get tennants they can trust), I really don't have that much sympathy.  Our house was foreclosed on two years ago.  And it just sold two months ago after being on the market for exactly 11 days.  They release them slowly to keep prices propped up.  They received TARP money to fix the problem but they aren't trying to fix/adjust the problem, they are just trying to ride it out (with our TARP money).  Again, no sympathy from me here. 
Sep 6, 2012 4:59AM

another reason marijuana should be legalized


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