While it's not unheard of for a student to throw a party while their parents are out of town, a new trend seems to be developing in Los Angeles -- throwing party at strangers' houses, after hearing they're out of town.
Last weekend, two houses in upscale neighborhoods of LA were broken into, quickly becoming the scene of out of-control parties. Police say the young ones had a "free for all" at the strangers' houses, committing vandalism, stealing things, and "basically trashing" the place.
Most recently, police in riot gear had to break up a gathering of more than 500 people in Holmby Hills (an upscale area of Los Angeles) after someone found out the family was away, and spread the news over Facebook and Twitter.
Rachel Newman, who lives next door to where the party occurred, reported that people started arriving around 10:30 p.m. "like a swarm of bees." "They were coming in cars. They were coming in cabs,” she recalled. She called the police, but by the time they arrived in the form of two lone female police officers, there were already more than 200 people in the house.
“They were just so brave,” the Newman said. “These two women were in the middle and all these kids’ iPhones were like torches and they were waving them and singing, '... the police,' '... the police.' I was thinking, 'I don’t think Steve Jobs would like his iPhone to be used in that way.'”
Soon after, police in riot gear were called to break up the event. When they arrived, the gathering had swelled to more than 500 people. Upon hearing that the police had arrived in a more substantial form, the party-goers "scattered like mice," even jumping out of second-story windows in an effort to escape.
A number of fights broke out, and several underage youth were cited for drug possession, curfew violation and drug paraphernalia, but the situation was under control in close to an hour.
Many have speculated that the break-ins are inspired by the move "Project X," which came out last month, where three Californian teenagers try to "make a name" for themselves by throwing a house party, only to find the situation spin out of their control.
The trailer imparts a good idea of what exactly the youth may be trying to recreate (Content Warning: graphic language and behavior):
One of the men whose house was broken into said, "They are out of control, destructive and violent and now life is imitating art in Los Angeles."
Shana Manlopic remarked that the sight of the teen mob was "Kinda scary actually...I just went and turned on the alarm here while I was here by myself."