WESLEY CHAPEL — V.J. Ragoobar has been cleaning up trashed homes for two years, but this job made him go outside to get some fresh air. The stench was unreal.
"This is one of the worst I've seen," Ragoobar said Friday. He works for Graystone Construction Corp., the company hired to clean the Meadow Pointe home of Arleen Agosto, an Army reservist who has been deployed in Virginia since December. Authorities say a group of children got inside the house on Allegro Drive through an unlocked window earlier this month.
Two teenagers have been arrested. The case of a boy less than 10 years old has been referred to the State Attorney's Office. The Pasco Sheriff's Office expects more arrests.
Agosto, 43, is a single mother of three children. She is a nurse who takes care of wounded vets. After she learned of the vandalism, she came home to inspect it, but had to go back to duty last weekend.
The Sheriff's Office says the teens went to the house at least three times. They defecated on Agosto's bed and between her sheets. They ground feces into the carpet.
"They peed all over the floors," said Tim Preiser, who is working with Ragoobar on the home. When he started, it was his first week of work with Graystone.
The vandals smeared peanut butter, jelly and syrup on the walls and ceiling — then threw cereal on top of it.
"It's like tarring and feathering, except with syrup and cereal," Preiser said.
They tried to light the bathroom sink on fire. Used condoms were found throughout the house. They opened a Super Mario Brothers game and put a white cream inside — then shut the case and put it back with the rest of the video games.
"It's like they hoped she would find it months later and it would be a reminder of what happened," Preiser said.
They drew a 4-foot tall penis in red marker on the kitchen wall. They threw pink and white paint over everything — gas stove, floors, walls, the flat screen TV, furniture, photographs. A white powder — likely baby powder — even dusted the contents of Agosto's freezer and pantry. They toilet papered the ceiling fans.
"They left nothing untouched," Preiser said.
The carpets have been ripped out. Anything that was salvageable was cleaned, inventoried and put in a box for Agosto to go through. On Friday afternoon, Ragoobar had sealed up box No. 67, with many more to go. The only large item that might be saved is a wood bed frame. The wood and tile floors will be taken up this weekend, because soaked-in urine that was covered in paint and food. Many of the walls will need to be replaced.
Photographs covered in paint were in a trash can. A dog's face was blotched out with pink.
"It's like they looked for stuff that would be most sentimental," Preiser said.
Graystone Superintendent Paul Johnson said Agosto is doing well. He gives her updates and said it will take weeks before the job is finished.
One of the arrested teenagers, a 15-year-old boy, lives down the street from Agosto. His mother answered the door Friday afternoon. She wouldn't allow her son to be interviewed, but said he was scrubbing their home's toilets. He is charged with residential burglary, felony criminal mischief and grand theft.
His mother said he is grounded — no television, no video games. No music unless it is Christian. She said she and her son are reading the Bible together. She said what her son did was "stupid." She said he feels awful.
"We feel really bad for the woman," the mother said. "This is our neighborhood and we love our neighbors."
Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this story. Erin Sullivan can be reached at [email protected]