ROELAND PARK, Kan. -- Police detained more than 30 teenagers after officers say the son of an estate sale auctioneer used a house key to get into a deceased woman’s home and host a party. Neighbors say what the teens did was, in their words, “totally disgusting.”
Family and friends like Paul Zuniga feel like the death of their loved one was exploited so a bunch of teenagers could get drunk.
“The bad thing about that is they don’t know that lady, the family, Mr. and Mrs. like we did," said Zuniga.
People who live in the quiet Roeland Park neighborhood are protective of each other, especially of the elderly people. So, everyone knew something was up when the lights were on in the deceased woman’s vacant home and dozens of teenagers were flooding into the house.
“This is a nice quiet street and there were cars backed on both sides," Zuniga described.
A neighbor called the police Thursday night and when officers showed up, the teens turned off the lights, locked the doors and pretended they were not there.
“People do tend to turn off the lights and pull the shades when we knock on the door. But the deceased homeowner's son did respond to the house and opened up the garage so we could get access to the house,” said Detective Randy Costlow with the Overland Park Police Department.
Det. Costlow said the teenage son of the person who owns the company handling the estate sale for the deceased woman's family got a hold of the key to the house and had a party, complete with booze, beer and cigarettes that littered the house and yard, according to the woman's son.
James Newcom called the boys' actions, "A disgrace to their company and customers."
He says Chapin Auctioneers was hired and trusted by his family during a very difficult time. He believes the owner's son took advantage of the situation, which Newcom says makes him, "Sick to my stomach to think I put my trust in a company that would do something like that."
The estate sale is clearly advertised on the Chapin Auctioneers website. When contacted for this story, the man who answered the phone at Chapin Auctioneers acknowledged that the incident did happen, but did not want to comment further at this time.
Police released all 31 teenagers to their parents. The Johnson County Juvenile District Attorney has been presented with the evidence to consider criminal trespassing and criminal damage charges.