Foreclosed Homeowner 'Booby-Traps' Home

Hell hath no fury like a homeowner scorned.

The FBI, a bomb squad, and first responders donning hazmat suits converged on a foreclosed home in South Seattle on Monday, according to KOMO News. The reason? Police believe the former owner booby-trapped the home in anticipation of his eviction.

As it turns out, though, the homeowner's plot was more a gesture of defiance than deliberate mayhem. No explosives were found in the home and the suspicious powder reported by the cleanup crew turned out to be an admixture of sugar and fire extinguisher residue.
The biggest scare occurred when police discovered several propane tanks and fire extinguishers on the premises. Most of the propane tanks were found to be empty, though. The most apparent "trap" staged in the home appeared to be a wire connected to the front gate, which was seemingly designed to trigger a nearby fire extinguisher. Police suspect that the 51-year-old homeowner, who is currently missing, was trying to impede the cleanup crew.

(See the booby-trapped home, which has yet to be re-listed, here.)

This is not the first time a disgruntled homeowner has lashed out in response to foreclosure. As we reported earlier this year, a 3,000-square-foot home in Huntington Beach, Calif., was so thoroughly trashed that the cleanup crew estimated that it would cost $250,000 to repair. (See the rampant vandalism here.)

Home vandalism, whether committed by a vengeful owner or roguish squatters, is becoming a huge problem for lenders saddled with a growing backlog of foreclosures to sell. And every day a home is left vacant on the market, especially in humid states like Florida (which, ironically, is one of the hardest-hit states), the risk of mold and other expensive hazards increases.

With such a huge inventory of bank-owned homes already on the market, it makes you wonder why lenders are in such a hurry to vacate even more properties.

Also see:
Realtors' Latest Challenge: A Surge of Squatters
Worst Foreclosed Home Vandalism Ever?

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