Livingston police allege Randy Perez caused nearly fifty-thousand dollars' worth of damage. He now faces felony charges, including grand theft, and vandalism.
From the outside, the home appears to be in excellent condition. But, pictures of the inside tell a different story. Pipes are destroyed. Doors are stripped. Even the fireplace and kitchen sink are ripped out.
Sgt. Ray Fong said, "There was a lot of items taken. A lot of time put into removing the items."
Randy Perez used to live in the home, before it went into foreclosure. On June 20th, an investment firm bought the property at an auction. Later that day, someone with the company called Livingston police after they discovered the damage inside.
Detectives followed up and found some of the stolen items inside Perez's parents' home. When questioned, Perez offered this explanation: "One of his arguments was that he had paid for some of these items," Sgt. Fong said. "Once it's bolted in, it becomes part of the house."
This act of vandalism isn't anything new for law enforcement, or real estate agents, especially in Merced County where nearly 24 percent of the homes currently for sale are foreclosures.
Andy Krotik said, "Since the foreclosure crisis started, vandalism by former owners is rampant."
Krotik is with Coldwell Banker Gonella Realty in Atwater says he deals with similar type cases on a regular basis. He said, "Had one just this week where the owner stripped the place, took light fixtures, took the stove, took the microwave."
Krotik warns, while banks and investors are left footing the bill for repairs, neighbors also wind up paying in the long run.
"It's a ripple effect," Krotik said. "What it does, it shrinks the pool of buyers who can buy it because if the house is stripped, a bank won't lend on it, so you have a smaller pool of buyers, so the price I going to be lower, which affects the neighbors."