Vandals Tear 130-Year-Old House Apart

Aurora officials offer reward, launch search for responsible parties

Leaded stained-glass. Ribboned inlaid floors. Mahogany and walnut curved staircase.

If you know vintage homes, those are words that make you salivate.

But, if you're the owner of a 130-year-old home rich in such fine features, the last thing you want to hear is that vandals have had a field day destroying the treasures inside the walls.

That seems to be exactly what happened to a vintage house in Aurora sometime between Feb. 13 and Feb. 27, the Beacon News reported Monday.

Someone -- or several someones -- caused $50,000 in damage to the house by punching holes in walls, knocking over appliances, breaking windows, snapping railings and letting water run throughout the house.

"I'm not a police investigator, but I'd have to say they were juveniles and amateurs," said Jim Pilmer, Aurora's director of parks and recreation. "Maybe they were practicing their karate with their own reality video game."

Officials in Aurora, the community that now owns the house, had planned to make the house the centerpiece of a new western entrance to the park on Aurora's southeast side, The Beacon reports.

"Your initial thought is: Oh, just tear this down," said Jim Pilmer, Aurora's director of parks and recreation.  "But it's just not that easy. They just don't build houses like this anymore."

The home was moved to its current location on Ashland Avenue from Fourth Street about a decade ago. It's a second empire Victorian home -- a style that was only popular for short period in the late 1800s.

Original plans to renovate the house will now be altered, as investigators announce a reward of $1,000 for information leading to the person or persons responsible for the damage.

Anyone interested in leaving information that would lead to an arrest should call Aurora Area Crime Stoppers at 630-892-1000.

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