Volunteers repair vandalized home

PNT Photo: Clarence Plank Gary Rhode, construction committee chair for Habitat for Humanity, looks over the water heater in a house vandalized recently. Volunteers from Curry and Roosevelt counties gathered Saturday in Portales to repair the damage.

Clarence Plank: PNT staff writer

Volunteers from Roosevelt and Curry counties gathered Saturday to raise hammers, drive nails and lay tile — again — repairing vandalism to one of Habit for Humanity’s completed homes in Portales.

Eight adults and two children came to the aid of Wendy Turner, whose house was vandalized days before she and her children were scheduled to move in.

The damage was discovered July 31 when Habitat Executive Director Joyce Davis received a call that water was running out the front and back doors.

“When I got there, the house was full of water,” Davis said. “It was like two inches deep. The faucet to the water heater had been opened and it was just flooding out of there. So, I don’t know if it had been more than a couple of hours.”

Later, it was discovered the thermostat had been pushed away from the wall. Davis and two other people managed to dry the house out.

“We got all the water out and turned on some fans to start drying out the house,” Davis said. “I believe the door was locked. I was sort of wading through the water and I’m not sure how clear my mind was at that time. I opened the door to see how we could get out.”

A plumber called in to help also noticed screws on the dishwasher were loose.

“The plumber’s sense was that someone was trying to steal those appliances, the water heater and dishwasher,” Davis said. “Later on we discovered there was dirt under the kitchen window. That may have been a way someone would have gotten in because there was no sign of forced entry.”

Portales Police were called to the scene to file a report. Habitat for Humanity also asked about setting up a neighborhood watch in that area.

Police have no leads.

While the damage was only minor to the house, it was still an inconvenience for the family because they could have moved in a few weeks ago, Davis said. Turner said she was hoping to be living in the house before her children started back to school. Now they have to move while they are attending classes.

Habitat for Humanity has been working on the three-bedroom, two-bath house 15 months and encountered other problems during that time.

“We’ve had different things going on with different construction managers and now this,” Turner said. “It has been one thing after another with that poor house. Even with the accident it is a beautiful house.”

Volunteers spent the day fixing trim around walls and doors and working to repair tile damaged by water.