WEST VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A teenager and her family have learned a very expensive lesson — that’s coming from West Vancouver Police, who say the 14-year-old rented a vacation home which was trashed in a massive house party.
The girl apparently booked rental online, making “unauthorized use of her parent’s credit card” to pay, according to West Van officers.
Constable Jeff Palmer with West Van PD says the girl’s plan was to have a gathering of about 50 people.
“Unfortunately, not surprisingly, that kind of an event can draw some attention via social media and just grapevine among teenagers. It grew very quickly beyond the intended gathering.”
Police say they were called around 8:30 Friday night to a home on Ottawa Avenue near 24th Street and saw 200 teens flooding out of the house.
Palmer says damage is now estimated at approximately $20,000.
“Walls were kicked in, furniture was smashed, artwork was smashed, furniture was tossed off the balcony into a hot tub,” he says.
The family has agreed to pay for the damage and no criminal charges will be pursued by the owner of the rental home.
“In the nature of that kind of party, breaking up with a flood of teenagers coming running out, it’s difficult in that circumstance to attempt to directly identify who might be specifically involved in inflicting the damage on the home. And unfortunately a number of the people who were there were not known by the organizer.”
He adds if anyone knows someone who may have been directly responsible for some of the damage, police would love to hear from you.
“It’s certainly a very, very, serious situation and there are, unfortunately, some familiar lessons,” says Palmer. He recalls his days a teen when word of house parties had to be passed by “rotary dial telephones” and still managed to get out of control.
“It’s not new, it’s a familiar lesson,” he says. “It seems some teens from each generation have to learn the lesson the hard way–we wish they didn’t have to… It’s bad the way it is with the amount of property damage, certainly could’ve been much worse in term of risk of injury to any one of the party goers.”
He says the potential for civil liability and potential criminal liability is incredibly high. Palmer says there’s an opportunity for a discussion around how much of your credit card and banking information your kids may have access to.
“And for a person who has their property listed on any online rental site–what assurances are you providing for yourself in terms of checking who has actually rented this property, what is their purpose for renting it and who has actually showed up to take possession of the key and be in control of your property? Very expensive lessons all around.”