Teen 'Rager' Party Allegedly Caused $45,000 in Damage After Online Alert

After Facebook post, up to 100 teens showed up uninvited, police say.

ByEamon Mcniff, Yuji De Nies and Kate Mccarthy via via logo
March 30, 2010, 11:26 AM

April 1, 2010— -- While house parties have always been a part of teenage life, with the introduction of "Facebook" and other social media sites a relatively small party can quickly turn into an out of control affair.

That is what happened to the Abbett family's home in East Bridgewater, Mass., when they took a trip to Paris and left their 18-year old son Alex in charge.

Teenage schoolmates of Alex talked their way into the Abbett house on Feb. 20 and allegedly announced a "rager" on Facebook, according to police. The family claims that up to 100 kids showed up and caused $45,000 worth of damage.

"An absolute disaster. My house had been turned upside down and inside out. The doors had been smashed, my bedroom window had been smashed, the floors were ruined. Just horror," Jill Abbett said.

Furniture was broken, doors were kicked in, holes were punched in their walls and ceilings, carpets were soaked in urine and bloody stains, and items were stolen.

"They urinated in every single drawer in the house. Every single drawer," Abbett said.

The teens not only promoted the party online, the police say they also used Facebook to brag about it afterwards on a fan page called "The Homewrecker Crew."

Teenagers acting out online and turning that into action is growing "exponentially," according to Parry Aftab, an Internet privacy and security lawyer.

"Thieves are always looking for their 15 megabytes of fame. If they can post on Facebook or somewhere else and it will get them more attention and make them look cool, they'll do it. But what they don't realize is they make it a lot easier for cops," Aftab said.

Police have arrested four teenagers in the Abbett case. But for Jill Abbett, she has months of repair work ahead of her. She said some of the damage simply can't be undone.

"They couldn't possibility imagine, unless it was done to their families, what this has been like," Jill Abbett said tearfully.

Police say partygoers at the Abbett house broke the legs off of an antique couch and burned them, smashed other antique furniture, broke staircase spindles, smashed ceiling fans and light fixtures, damaged the hardwood floors, kicked in both bathroom doors, punched holes in the ceilings and walls. Blood was found on the walls, marble countertops were smashed and broken, bedding was destroyed. Family pictures were mutilated, items were stuffed in every toilet in the house, and food was thrown all over the Abbetts' home.

"Several items were also stolen from the house including a laptop, a PS3 game console, jewelry, alcohol, clothing, golf clubs, sporting goods, perfume, medicine, CD's, DVD's, video games," East Bridgewater Detective Michael Jenkins said.

According to Jenkins, Dan Abbett's truck was stolen during the party and damaged.

"It looked like a scene from Animal House, but worse," Jenkins said.

Party Crashers Flock to House After News of "Rager" Posted on Facebook

The Abbetts are not the only victims of teens trashing a home after an alert goes out on Facebook.

In upstate New York 84 teenagers have been charged in connection with causing $200,000 in damage to a vacant home after word spread over Facebook about a party at the house in February.

Delaware lawyer Stuart Grant sued a group of teenagers last October who he claims crashed a party his daughter threw. The suit claims the interlopers stole a jug containing roughly $500 in coins, prescription drugs which they allegedly crushed and snorted. They also allegedly stole electronics and "household items" the suit says. Grant is suing the teens for $6,000 in compensatory damages, and $30,000 in punitive damages.

Court records say the night of the party at the Abbett house Alex asked people to leave, but they wouldn't and he didn't call police out of fear he would be beaten up.

"My son wasn't friends with any of them," Abbett said. "Witnesses told me Alex was completely in shock at the party. He sent the one friend he had there to get help."

Police said that friend located a neighbor, and when the neighbor arrived at the home the party broke up. No calls to police were made until two days later when Jill Abbett's ex-husband was called to the house by Alex. After surveying the damage, he called the police and his ex-wife to tell them what happened.

The police and the Abbett family expect more arrests to be made in the case.

"We've received several leads that we're following as a result of the media coverage," Jenkins said.

Abbett said the students have since harassed her son, allegedly calling him a "snitch." Alex has not returned to school, his mother said, said out of fear for his safety since the four students were arraigned. She also said her son does not plan on attending his school's prom.

A Facebook page allegedly set up by one of the suspects called "Homewrecker Crew" mocks the destruction to the home.

"A fan page was created on Facebook the day after the party by the juvenile called the 'Homewrecker Crew,'" Jenkins said. "It has since been taken down."

Jenkins said the page was created to mock and brag about showing up to parties in the area and destroying the homes. However when asked about it, the teen said the name was "lyrics to a song."

Abbett also expressed frustration with the reaction by the East Bridgewater High School after the incident. She said the school district hasn't done enough to discipline the students implicated so far, especially since the four were allowed to return to school after they were arrested last week.

"I'm absolutely not happy with the school," she said. "They're bragging all over Facebook about it. I don't see any remorse whatsoever."

"One of them was on Facebook saying they can't wait to 'get drunk before prom,'" she said, adding that none of those charged should be allowed to go to prom or graduation.

East Bridgewater High School principal Paul Viera was reached by phone, but said he had "no comment" on the situation.

Jenkins said the four students had a meeting with school officials Monday night to discuss the incident, but the results of that meeting have yet to be made public, and Grossman, Peterson and Edwards couldn't be reached by phone.

One of the Teens Charged in Abbett House Destruction Said Party Planned

However the 16-year-old charged spoke with the Boston Globe last week and said only some of the story was being told.

"There are a lot of false accusations towards me and a few people,'' he told the Globe. "It's being blamed on four kids, and there were at least 100 people there.''

The Globe said said the teen felt bad for what had happened, but he had always been friendly with the son and the party was planned. The Globe also says he claimed two other parties were held at the Abbett house that week.

"Pretty much everyone in the house was intoxicated, and when you have that many people in one place, not much good can happen from that,'' he said. "It was a house party that went wrong. Everyone was wreaking havoc.''

For Jill Abbett, the use of Facebook in this incident and others to promote and exploit an open house is a major problem.

"Facebook is totally out of control," she said. "They are having these parties they call 'ragers' that they advertise about on Facebook when someone's house is free, and they get off trashing people's property."

Abbett also said another family in East Bridgewater had something similar happen, where a party got out of control after being advertised on Facebook and the home was damaged.

Facebook's Malorie Lucich told ABC News her company was concerned about any misuse of Facebook.

"We encourage those who spot troublesome behavior to immediately report it to us, and to discuss with parents, teachers, and others in the community who can help," Lucich said.

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