March 31, 2010— -- Returning from a dream Paris vacation, Jill and Dan Abbett found their Massachusetts home in shambles. 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.
The destruction was allegedly carried out by a group of teen party crashers, some of whom police say bragged about it on a Facebook page labeled "the Homewrecker Crew."
The Abbetts are the latest family to be victimized by party crashing, home trashing teens who flock to an empty home after an alert goes out on Facebook.
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.
A month after the Abbett's dream vacation turned into a nightmare, they are still reeling from the destruction and are furious with what they see as inaction by the school district.
"What they did to my house was despicable and disgusting," Jill Abbett, 42, of East Bridgewater, Mass., told ABC News.
According to Abbett, she went to Paris last month with her husband, parents, nieces and 16-year-old daughter leaving their 18-year-old son Alex behind to stay with friends.
On Feb. 20, Alex returned to his parent's house on Elm Street in East Bridgewater, according to his mother to let out the family cat. Police records say Alex found another teen playing basketball in Abbett's driveway who asked Alex to have a party at his house that night. Records say Alex invited over several people, but the teen allegedly logged onto a computer in the Abbett's home and advertised the party on Facebook.
"The juvenile posted on Facebook that there was a rager going on and to call or text for location," East Bridgewater Detective Michael Jenkins told ABC News.
Party Crashers Flock to House After News of "Rager" Posted on Facebook
According to Jenkins, that alleged announcement by the teen prompted up to 100 people to show up.
"They just took over," Jill Abbett said.
Police say partygoers 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," Jenkins said.According to Jenkins, Dan Abbett's truck was also stolen during the party and damaged.
"It looked like a scene from Animal House, but worse," Jenkins said.
For Jenkins though, the most striking and horrible aspect of the carnage inflicted on the Abbett home was the smell he encountered when he arrived to investigate.
"The smell of stale urine," Abbett said about what struck him most. "They urinated on every mattress, in every room, and in every clothes drawer."
The Abbetts say they are overwhelmed with the destruction, and are still trying to figure out the total cost. The family has had contractors in their home every day since they've returned from Paris trying to assess the damage and repairs needed. Jill Abbett said it's too soon in the process to think about lawsuits, but didn't rule that out down the road.
"Insurance is still coming up with a figure, but $45,000 is low because of all the destruction," Abbett said. "This is a 200-year old house with a ton of character. It's mindboggling that this kind of destruction could happen to anybody."
Court records say the night of the party 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.
Police arrested four teens last week, charging three of them as adults. Jenkins said all four who have been arrested were known to police prior to this incident.
The three charged as adults have been identified as Daniel Peterson, 18; Michael Edwards, 17, and Gersham Grossman, 18.
Party Crashing Teens Labeled 'Homewrecker Crew' on Facebook
Grossman has been charged with malicious damage to a motor vehicle, Dan Abbett's truck, and using a motor vehicle without authority, according to police records. He pleaded not guilty in Brockton District Court. Edwards and Peterson were charged with malicious destruction of property and both pleaded not guilty.
The 16-year-old was charged with larceny and brought before juvenile court. According to Jenkins none showed any sign of remorse when arrested.
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.
Jenkins had no comment when asked if the four were suspected in any other incidents in the town related to destroying homes during a party.
"This has turned our lives upside down, we've all been victimized by this," Jill Abbett said. "This has left our house and my family in ruins."