A recent article in the Chicago Sun-Times discussed a subject that has been a topic of conversation for many news publications for a while now: foreclosure. However, this wasn’t your typical piece about the poor housing market or the mortgage crisis. This article, titled “Vacate with Vengeance,” concerned the vindictive actions of those homeowners facing foreclosure.

For a long time, the masses have regarded homeowners dealing with foreclosure with pity, as a group with whom they should sympathize. When lenders and banks take properties away from a struggling laborer, a single parent, a newlywed couple or a family of six, we can’t help but feel empathy. Yet many of those homeowners don’t walk away without leaving their mark.

The Sun-Times article first mentions a home in Orland Park (a suburb of Chicago), which sold for nearly one million dollars just three years ago, that would go for less than half of that because the current owners suffered from foreclosure. But why, exactly did the home sell for only $375,000? The owners tore apart the home, removing appliances, even plumbing, leaving a basic skeletal structure, taking away even more of the value (marked down already to $500,000) after foreclosure. And this is not the first time something like this has happened.

Many foreclosed homes in the Chicago area are being stripped of practically everything, including cabinets, countertops, fixtures, toilets and more. Some expensive items like granite counters or brass chandeliers end up on eBay or Craig’s List. A man in Chicago Heights was even arrested for trespassing and theft when he stole the windows out of his foreclosed house. While some real estate agents think that the homeowners should pay for the damages, there is usually no actual way to prove who defaced the properties, since most of the previous owners are long gone (with the stolen goods) before the lender/bank actually repossesses the property.