A group of students apparently angry about being evicted retaliated by throwing a very expensive house party near San Diego State University.
The party last week and ensuing vandalism left the house, in the 5000 block of Alumni Place, in a shambles that will take up to $25,000 to repair, said Detective Norm Hardman of the San Diego Police. The students passed a flyer around campus that advertised an “eviction party” on March 10, and encouraged participants to come and “barf” on the walls. “Who carez (sic),” the flyer read, “it’s not my house.”
The students forced their way through a door into the house, where they allegedly proceeded to vandalize the premises. Floor tiles were cracked and broken, windows were smashed, holes were punched in walls. One wall, Hardman said, “looked like they were playing head-butting contests.” There were holes in the ceiling and graffiti were written with marker pens on wallpaper, walls and cupboards. Mirrors were smashed, cupboard doors were ripped off and drapes and carpets were stained with dirt.
About 55 students were arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor violations of trespassing and disturbing the peace, Hardman said. Arrested on suspicion of burglary and felony vandalism were Donald Melvin Clarke, 23, Joe Clark Murdoch, 21, and Adalberto Munoz, 21.
A few students were cited for operating a business without a license, Hardman said. He said he expects one more arrest to be made but said it is still being investigated. All of the students were released on bail or on their own recognizance, Hardman said.
None of the students arrested was listed on the lease, and police did not know if any of the students had ever been tenants of the house, Hardman said. Police also did not know how many of the students arrested were from SDSU.
Vestiges of the party also included swastikas scrawled on a wall, said Hardman, but he downplayed their significance.
Swastikas on Wall
“There were indications that there were swastikas on the wall, but through the course of the investigation, I determined this is not a racially motivated or a race crime. It was just stupidity on the part of intoxicated students. The swastikas were not directed at any victims,” Hardman said.
Hardman disputed reports that party-goers were also stamped with swastikas after paying the $2 admission. “Nobody had their hand stamped,” he said. “They were marked with a marker pen to indicate they had paid. There were not swastikas. Band members, for instance, were marked with “B” to distinguish them.”
The owner of the house, Angela Balsamo, had some forewarning that a party was planned, Hardman said. “Someone turned in a flyer to SDSU authorities before the party. SDSU detectives contacted the owner. The owner checked the property at 6:30 p.m., but the house was secure.”
Police began to receive complaints between 9 and 9:30 that night about noise from the party. When police arrived, they called Balsamo, who later told police that she feared retaliation from the students, Hardman said.
Hardman said he will submit the case to the district attorney’s office by Tuesday for consideration, adding that he hopes the culprits won’t get off with just a slap on the wrist. “We’re talking felony charges here. . . . These people’s house was trashed. How would you feel if your house was trashed?”