A house in Novato was trashed over the weekend, most likely, the homeowners suspect, by high school kids who broke in through the bathroom, set up a bar, urinated down the vents, poured buckets of paint across hardwood floors and set off a fire extinguisher.
Police on Wednesday nabbed a 17-year-old Novato boy in connection with the incident. The suspect, who is being held at the Marin County Juvenile Hall, was arrested after an investigation revealed that he possessed stolen property.
The family believes break-in and vandalism that occurred on Sunday evening at a home on the 2100 block of Vineyard Road began with a Snapchat "invitation" to come party at an "abandoned" home.
Novato police, who confirmed that “juveniles” were the most likely culprits, estimate the damage to the home that was being renovated at $5,000. But the homeowners estimate the costs are much higher – possibly as much as $25,000, because the vandals wrecked newly paved asphalt and newly renovated ducts and wood floors.
Police said a flat-screen television was also stolen. According to a department update, the suspect was picked up from the 500 block of Magnolia Place, which is roughly two miles from the vandalized house.
“Sadly this is not the Novato of our youth,” one of the homeowners wrote on a Facebook parents group.
In subsequent conversations with NBC Bay Area, the woman said that she and her family had not yet moved into the home over the Labor Day weekend. The area is in West Novato, and Zillow price listings show that many homes on the street are valued around $1 million dollars.
The homeowner believes a Snapchat invitation went out on Sept. 5 inviting high schoolers to a party at an “abandoned house.” As many as 100 teenagers showed up. Pictures taken by the family, and then posted on a Facebook parents group, show a bucket of white paint all over the floors and a children’s slide, beer cups and cans strewn across makeshift tables in the foyer, and sealed furniture unwrapped and in the back yard.
The homeowners also say it appears the vandals poured beer and urinated down the vent system.
She’s now putting out a plea that parents send a “message that this is unacceptable for our kids to do such a thing in our town” and one day “have a dream to be able to afford a home in Marin County.” And she asked that if anyone has any information, they should speak up.
Now, neighbors from the Facebook group have set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for the family. As of Wednesday, the site had raised about $800.
A parishioner from a local church has also volunteered a group to come help clean up the damage to the wood floors.