A vacant Bluffton, S.C. home in foreclosure sustained $100,000 worth of water damage last week when drains were plugged and water faucets were left running intentionally, according to the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.
The abandoned and foreclosed Westbury Park home, which was for sale, was found April 7 with water covering the first floor, a sheriff's report said.
An employee from Brokers Real Estate in Bluffton told deputies that all the sinks and tubs had been plugged with factory-installed stoppers. Water had been turned on, causing overflows. The employee said he turned off all the water fixtures as well as the power to the home on Westbury Park Way before notifying the Beaufort Jasper Water & Sewer Authority to shut off the main water supply, according to the report.
The home was last sold in November 2005 for $329,000, according to records from the Beaufort County Assessor's Office.
The BJWSA employee who shut off the water told deputies the water meter registered nearly 71,000 gallons of water used. Based on the meter readings, he said, the incident date was likely April 4 -- three days before the damage was discovered.
Beaufort County Sheriff P.J. Tanner said the vandalism seems to be an isolated event and not part of a national trend of vandalism to homes in foreclosure.
In a recent national survey, real estate agents estimated that about half of foreclosed properties to be sold by mortgage companies have "substantial" damage, according to an article published March 28 in The Wall Street Journal.
Vandals flood vacant home, cause $100,000 in damage
April 15, 2008