Vandals break in, flood vacant home, causing more than $20,000 in damage

Vandals intentionally drag garden hose into vacant home and turn it on, letting it run for three days before it was discovered, St. George, Utah, July 14, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Cheryl Styler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — A vacant home listed for sale was damaged when vandals allegedly broke in and dragged garden hoses into the home and turned on multiple faucets, which allowed water to flood throughout the house for nearly three days before being discovered.

Kitchen faucet hose was pulled over counter and allowed to run for nearly three days, flooding a home in St. George, Utah, July 14, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Cheryl Styler, St. George News

Lynn and Cheryl Styler received a call from their realtor Monday saying their vacant home had been vandalized. The residence is located in the northwest area of St. George off of Bluff Street.

The realtor also told the couple that it appeared that over the previous weekend an unknown individual or individuals entered the residence and turned on all of the faucets.

In the kitchen they found a faucet sprayer hose that was stretched over the sink which allowed water to run onto the floor.

Multiple garden hoses were also found inside, appearing to have been dragged into the house and left running.

“This was a senseless act, and we are shocked and devastated,” homeowner Cheryl Styler said.

The flooding was initially reported to the realty company July 15 after a couple out shopping for a home went to the property to view it from the outside and noticed a great deal of water streaming out from under several doors.

The couple immediately called their realtor to report the situation who then called the realty company currently listing the home and left a message advising of the flooding on the general voicemail.

That message was not received until Monday.

Carpeted stairs with hose that was intentionally dragged in and allowed to run for nearly 3 days, flooding a vacant home in St. George, Utah, July 14, 2017 | Photo courtesy of Cheryl Styler, St. George News

Upon hearing the message, realty company staff went to the home and discovered the flooding and turned the water off.

The damage was extensive and devastating, the homeowner said.

“The water was at least 3 inches deep all throughout the house by then – every room of that house was flooded,” Cheryl Styler said.

The couple called police and reported the incident, and they are seeking the public’s help to identify those responsible for causing more than $20,000 in damages. Those costs may also increase as the work progresses, Cheryl Styler said.

“Any property, whether it’s occupied or not, belongs to someone and entering that property without the owner’s consent is considered criminal trespassing,” Lona Trombley, Public Information Officer for the St. George Police Department said.

Trombley added that any damages caused, including the costs associated with those damages, can also become the financial responsibility of those individuals responsible if convicted.

Cheryl Styler said their homeowner’s insurance claim was denied because the home was left vacant for more than 30 days while they were trying to sell it, and repair costs are being paid out of pocket.

According to Insure.com, “Unoccupied homes can be hard to insure because they can easily fall into disrepair or be targeted by miscreants, making your home too much of a risk for your homeowners insurance company. Typically, home insurance coverage is in jeopardy if a home is left unoccupied for 30 or more consecutive days.”

Anyone who has information about the case is asked to call the St. George Police Department at 435-627-4300 with reference incident No. 17P017336.

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Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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10 Comments

  • NickDanger July 23, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    The worst thing about this is, there’s little doubt that kids did it. They had/have no frame of reference regarding property ownership or insurance caveats. I doubt they even know who owns the house. To them it was just a prank.

    When I was a kid any new or vacant construction was fair game for our little fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants neighborhood gang – and understand this was suburbia, not L.A. If there was a window, it might get a few rocks thrown at it. If there was a pile of 2×4’s, it might get taken into the woods and turned into a tree fort. If some poor construction worker left a tool behind, it was ours.

    But we weren’t bad kids. That whole crew of mine all turned out just fine, they all have kids, grandkids, and homes of their own now, along with (I’m sure) a healthy, adult appreciation for the value of real estate.

    You might find these kids who did this. Maybe one of them will mention this incident to the wrong person and get tattled on, then snitch out the whole bunch. That seems likely in fact.

    But the harsh reality of this situation is, this kind of thing is always going to happen now and then. And it’s going to be perpetrated by our own children. Children crave adventure. Modern society denies them this and treats them like children long past the age when they feel they are all grown up. They will laugh about this – ARE laughing even harder because they made the local news. And if they suffer a few moments of guilt, they will very quickly justify the act to themselves by remembering that they aren’t allowed to drink, smoke, do drugs, skateboard in that freshly-paved parking lot up the street, or go to Vegas for the weekend with their friends.

    The insurance companies already know this.

    • comments July 23, 2017 at 10:12 pm

      I think ur wrong. This seems a bit too vengeful to be “just rowdy neighborhood delinquents”. I’d take a look at who owned the property before and whether or not they were foreclosed on. If it is “kids” doing this just for thrills that’s a sad sad thing, because hauling in garden hoses and going to that sort of effort is quite calculated–far more so than just tossing a rock at a window.

      • Mattman July 24, 2017 at 2:45 pm

        I’m sorry… As soon as I read ‘ur’ in your first sentence, I stopped reading because your comment became inane…

        • comments July 24, 2017 at 11:20 pm

          Ask me how much I care if you read it or not… UR just whining … cheers bud 😉

  • old school July 23, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Bet they got an idea who did it and hopefully, some of the neineighboring residencies have have surveillance cameras with something

  • izzymuse July 23, 2017 at 9:34 pm

    Looks like something a few teenage punks who had way too much time on their hands during the summer would do. Too many unsupervised kids in modern society. If these were my kids who did this, I would make them pay for their crime to justice (turn them into the officials), then make them get jobs, pay the home owner $20,000 with a year of volunteer service to the neighborhood (raking leaves, sweeping sidewalks and driveways, and yard work – pulling weeds, etc…).
    .
    If this was done by people older than 18, they seriously need to grow up and get a life. Wow, a very juvenile thing to do.

  • and July 23, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    Water damage was the only method of vandalism. No broken toilets, no holes in the wall, no graffiti, no broken mirrors or glass. This sounds personal to me. I bet the owners know the suspect.

  • JOSH DALTON July 24, 2017 at 12:10 pm

    2017 the year of The Nicest Internet Troll! I of course think this could also have been the home owner. In my world everybody is a suspect. This looks like a good way to cover up an pre- existing condition caused by a act of God. i.e. not having coverage under insurance. 2nd being this is a great topic for a “Go fund me page” to pay for new carpet and counter tops, then get a paid vacation to Disney for the kids. GO FALCONS!

    • JonesAB July 24, 2017 at 1:33 pm

      Josh, It’s unfortunate you would think ill of people you don’t know, who you know nothing about. I challenge you to look for a GoFund me page or anything similar, you won’t find it. I wish you the best, and a future of more kind thoughts.

      • JOSH DALTON July 25, 2017 at 10:37 am

        “We don’t need another hero”-Tina Turner

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