Vandalism estimated at $2,600 for Bartlett rental house

vandalismProperty owner John Thorne of Memphis was philosophical Tuesday about the vacant rental home that one or more vandals recently targeted on the 7000 block of Scepter Drive in Bartlett. He estimated that retail costs for repairs would be around $2,300 plus another $300 to replace a stove.

But he’s a veteran property manager with more than 20 years in the industry and properties across the greater Memphis area and is now making the repairs and continuing with the home’s renovations.

“It’s just one of those things,” he said. “In this business, you learn to just pick up the pieces and go on.”

He chose not to speculate on who might have caused the damages. New locks were on the house as of Dec. 14.

Thorne discovered the damage on Dec. 17 and said it must have happened between that Saturday night and Sunday morning. The back door was broken in, and the entire first floor was covered in about an inch of water where someone had opened the washing machine spigot and allowed it to flood the house.

Thorne told police that the previous tenants had also left the water running when they left.

Someone had opened an entire bag of white freshwater food-grade diatomaceous earth, strewn it about the floor and counters and dumped the rest into the stove. Several buckets of white paint were poured out onto the counters and spilled on the walls and dishwasher. Someone also flung paint on the fireplace bricks.

Officers responding to the incident spotted a large brown stain on the walls and steps as they headed upstairs. The bedrooms upstairs also had brown stains as well as the same diatomaceous earth thrown on the floors. Someone had taken a bowel movement in the bathroom and also smeared fecal matter on the bathroom wall.

Finally, someone also took the keys to the house’s new locks before leaving the mess behind.

The responding officers lifted fingerprints and also found several footprints in the dust.

Thorne said he has seen property damages at other homes before, but nothing of this level previously in Bartlett.

CAROLYN BAHM is the editor of The Bartlett Express. Contact her at (901) 433-9138 or via email to