Vacant homes are a target for all sorts of crime. In some cities, criminals break into foreclosed, abandoned homes to steal copper piping. In others, the homeless seek residence in empty properties. In California, however, a new crime has sprung up in empty homes across the state: Sharpie Parties.
Teens use social networks including Twitter and Facebook to publicize the parties, where revelers gather to vandalize the property while partying the night away. When the damage is found, the home is covered in permanent marker on walls, doors, floors, and ceilings. Other damage has included broken and smashed in windows and flooded rooms.
Similar parties have popped up in other states including Texas, Florida, and Utah, according to this story from Reuters.
Many of the properties damaged have been bank owned, and due to the cost of pursuing the perpetrators, the homes are left damaged and the price is reduced to help sell the home.
If you are moving and will leave your home vacant, be sure it is in the care of a quality real estate agent. Don’t leave your financial well being to chance, luck, or the possibility of vandalism.
If you have a home that hosted a Sharpie Party, the only way to remove marks left by Sharpies is to repaint. If your wall is a light color, you may have to use a thick primer like Kilz Oil Based Primer before adding paint. Be sure to have the paint store mix your final color into the Kilz primer so you can get away with only using one coat of your final cover.