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Defaulting homeowners strike back

House Keys

The windows are broken. The doors are off their hinges. The walls have been punched through like Swiss cheese. The appliances, curtain rods, faucets and other supposedly built-in fixtures have been ripped out and presumably sold. Paint or perhaps motor oil has been poured over the once-pristine carpets. The basement has been flooded. The plumbing is stopped up, and the stench is indescribable. All that -- and much more -- describes the state of many of the homes that are for sale in foreclosure-wracked markets around the country. And much of this destruction has been committed not by vandals or squatters, but instead by the former homeowners themselves as a sort of toxic parting gift for the bank that foreclosed on their mortgage. Some homeowners have even abandoned their pets inside their home with the sure knowledge that a hungry, desperate and trapped animal would add to the destruction. It's surprisingly easy for me to imagine the sort of anger that would push a homeo...