Ex-pro athlete uses tweets to track down house-trashing teens
Brian Holloway learned on Twitter that his house was being used by hundreds of teens for an unauthorized party and used their tweets to identify those he thinks are responsible for $20,000 in damage.
The teens who broke into his house used social media to advertise a raging party, but now the former pro football player is using the same social-networking tools to track down those responsible for trashing his house.
When Brian Holloway, who played offensive tackle for the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Raiders during the 1980s, first saw the photos of teens partying in his upstate New York home, he thought they were a hoax. Images posted to Twitter by party-goers showed teenagers dancing on his dining room table during an unauthorized Labor Day party that was attended by an estimated 200 to 400 teenagers.
The young partiers caused at least $20,000 in damage, breaking windows, punching holes in walls, and spray-painting graffiti as Holloway watched on Twitter, he told the Associated Press. That damage estimate does not include the value of personal items that were allegedly stolen during the party.
Holloway, who was at his home in Lutz, Fla., said his 19-year-old son, a sophomore at the University of Southern Florida, alerted him to the party after learning about it on Twitter.
"We were getting eyewitness reports of what was happening while it was happening," he told the Associated Press. "We couldn't believe what was going down."
Holloway told CNET that sexual assaults also occurred during the event. But before he could report the break-in to authorities, tweets indicated that police had already arrived at his house, sending party-goers scurrying around his rural 200-acre property.
A "very large investigation" into the party is under way, a spokeswoman for the Rensselaer County Sheriff's Office told the Associated Press, but no arrests have yet been made.
Teens who Holloway said did not attend the party later helped him remove urine-soaked carpets and 10 large garbage bags full of liquor bottles.
Holloway, who now works as a motivational speaker who talks with kids about the dangers of alcohol and drug use, said he combed through dozens of Twitter postings to compile more than 220 "verified" names of teens he says attended the party. He has posted the tweets, images, and the names to Helpmesave300.com, a Web site he created in an effort to encourage those in attendance to take responsibility for their actions and change their behavior.
Holloway suggests on his Web site that those identified as being at the party could be used as ambassadors to communicate the dangers of alcohol and drug use to thousands of teenagers.
"That would save a lot of lives," he writes.