MURRIETA (CBS) — A Riverside County jury has convicted a husband and wife of vandalizing their French Valley home after it slid into foreclosure, causing $100,000 in damage.
Neighbors say Robert Acosta, a former police officer, and his wife Monique trashed their home for weeks after a bank foreclosed on them in 2010.
“Everybody has hard times. We have hard times right now but we would never do that to our house,” Neighbor Gwendolyn Bianco told CBS2′s Jeff Nguyen.
The couple had been renting out their house for eleven months but prosecutors say they pocketed the rent money instead of paying the mortgage.
“What they did though that was ultimately wrong at the end of the day is they asked and they demanded for $10,000 to leave the house in ‘good condition.’ When the bank failed to do that, they obviously trashed the house,” said Prosecutor Marcus Garrett.
Riverside County prosecutors say the Acostas poured hair dye into the grout of the bathroom and spray painted the walls.
“They went overboard. It was just a shame. Just a shame to a house,” Bianco said.
Following their convictions, their attorney, Joshua Knight, emailed CBSLA a statement:
“The Acostas are good people and were put in an extraordinary situation that has become far too commonplace in our society. They were losing their home and trying to salvage what they had left of their belongings.”
Prosecutors say the jury came back with quick verdicts after seeing four photos depicting the damage.
“What the Acostas did is that they waved ‘goodbye’ at the bank and they weren’t using all their fingers,” Garrett added.
Prosecutors say Robert even tried to sell 12 trees and 2 air conditioning units that were ripped from the home on Craigslist.
Sentencing for both he and his wife has been scheduled for July 20.