Members Must Stand Trial For Trashing CU-Financed Home After Foreclosure
SAN DIEGO – A judge ruled Friday there is enough evidence for a former San Diego police officer and his wife to stand trial on felony charges in connection with the trashing of their foreclosed French Valley home, which was financed by San Diego Metropolitan CU.
The property suffered more than $100,000 in damage, including missing doors, light fixtures and air-conditioning units, stones smashed off the facade, dye poured on carpets, spray-painted graffiti, wiring pulled out of walls and cut, a gutted kitchen, and chopped-down landscaping tossed in the backyard swimming pool, according to court records.
Robert Acosta, 39, and Monique Acosta, 35, each are charged with one count of carrying away or disposing of items from a mortgaged or foreclosed property. They have pleaded not guilty. If convicted, the Acostas face up to four years in prison.
Prosecutors said the damage was not only intentional but done in a “particularly malicious manner.”
A representative from the credit union discovered the mess when she inspected the home June 15, 2010, the day after the Acostas moved out. Later, Riverside County sheriff's investigators recovered thousands of dollars in missing appliances, light fixtures, shutters, gates and other items in the Acostas’ storage units in San Diego County.
Prosecutors displayed photographs taken by a witness at a neighboring home showing the move-out. One picture shows Monique Acosta apparently chopping down a small cypress tree in the backyard as her young daughter looks on.
Defense attorneys argued the Acostas took upgraded fixtures and appliances that they had paid for themselves and believed were rightfully theirs. They also said Robert Acosta, who denied vandalizing the house, later offered to repair the damage but was rebuffed by the credit union.