Police in northern Florida are turning to social media to search for teenagers and young adults who broke into an $8 million home and threw a party.
The Walton County Sheriff’s Office posted on its Facebook page that it received a noise complaint early Saturday morning in WaterColor, a community near Seaside. When officers arrived, most attendees of the party had already left, but photos and videos have since surfaced on Snapchat, Instagram and other social media sites of the party and those who attended.
The sheriff’s office included some of the pictures and videos in its post, showing some attendees smoking, drinking and boxing each other as others present watched and recorded on their phones.
Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Corey Dobridnia told Panama City, Fla., ABC affiliate WJHG that about 200 people were present at the house when police arrived. The owners of the house party were out of town, WJHG reported.
“An open house party is illegal, it’s already against the law, but breaking into a house to have an open house party is burglary,” Dobridnia said. “There is a chance that some of the kids didn’t know that the house wasn’t being rented, etc. but the amount of destruction and the amount of items stolen out of the house would lead me to believe that even if you did think you had permission to be there, you knew you were doing things that is against the law.”
The office said just because videos were posted on Snapchat, where posts disappear after a certain amount of time, does not mean they will stay private, as word can spread and people can tag others in Instagram posts, which do not disappear. It added that the office can subpoena Snapchat for videos.
“Apart from the damage caused and the items stolen, it’s a complete violation of someone’s home that you can’t put a price on,” the office wrote. “The feeling when you know someone went into your closet, tried on your clothes, and used your bathroom doesn’t have a dollar amount attached to it. Especially in a place where you’re supposed to feel safe.”
Officials are encouraging anyone who was present or knows who was there to come forward to police.
Author: Jared Gans