Nearly 200 people break into $8 million Florida home for party, post videos on Snapchat and Instagram – NBC News
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Authorities are searching for the individuals who broke into a $8 million Florida home, threw a massive party and posted videos of the mayhem on social media.
About 200 people attended the party at the property in the small, affluent community of Watercolor on Friday evening as the owners were out of town, Walton County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Corey Dobridnia told NBC News.
Watercolor is located on the Gulf Coast, about 40 miles northwest of Panama City, Florida.
Individuals pried open the back door to enter the property, Dobridnia said.
The Walton County Sheriff’s Office was called to the home in Blackwater Street on a noise complaint early Saturday morning around 1 or 2 a.m., but when they arrived most of the party attendees had left the scene, officials said.
However, footage of the party circulated on Snapchat, Instagram and other social media platforms, showing people dancing, drinking, and cheering on young people boxing with gloves on.
The sheriff’s office warned that Snapchat isn’t private and authorities can issue subpoenas for social media posts.
“An open house party is against the law. An open house party in a home you break into is a burglary,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
Several partygoers have been identified so far, some by parents who called the sheriff’s office.
So far the attendees are believed to be high schoolers from the county and neighboring Okaloosa County, Dobridnia said. Officials are still looking to determine who made entry into the house and who organized the party.
The Watercolor home where the party took place is up for the sale but the owners lived there full time, the sheriff’s office said. According to a listing for the home, it has five bedrooms, eight bathrooms and spans 6,442 square feet.
The break-in and party took place as the owners were out of town, but a family member was at the residence just hours before the chaos started.
“(The owners) were out of town less than 24 hours. They left and there was still someone in the home Friday afternoon. So somebody would have either had to have been driving by the house or they picked up on the fact that the family was leaving town,” Dobridnia said.
A flyer for the party was circulated five days before the Friday event, advertised alcohol and food, and included the address of the home.
“So if you’re under the age of 21, and you walk into a house, and you see people drinking and doing drugs and fighting in the foyer with boxing gloves, you know you’re not supposed to be there,” Dobridnia said.
“Regardless, an open house party in the state of Florida is against the law. So even if you didn’t think the house was broken into, you’re still not where you’re supposed to be.”
The owners of the home are demanding answers as to who broke into their home and want to press charges, the sheriff’s office said.
However, it’ll take time to determine the total value of stolen items and damage caused to the sprawling home.
“No matter the cost of the house, that the real issue that we have is the total lack of regard for somebody’s home,” Dobridnia said.
“Now this family has to worry about people who are trying on their clothes in their closet, using their bathroom, getting in their beds, putting on their jewelry. It’s an invasion of privacy is what it is.”
Marlene Lenthang is a breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital.
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June 24, 2022 at 01:46AM