A San Diego Police officer and his wife accused of vandalizing their home after losing it to foreclosure pleaded "not guilty".
Robert Acosta, who owned the home with his wife, Monique, is charged with a felony for allegedly doing $200,000 damage to the home, in the French Valley area of Riverside, near Temecula. Monique Acosta, a real estate agent, is charged with the same felony count.
The couple made their first court appearance Wednesday.
Prosecutors call the act clearly malicious. The couple’s attorney disagrees. He says the damages have been greatly exaggerated.
“Were the walls down? Were the beams still up? Were the beams still there? That’s structural damage. How much does it cost to replace a little tile? How much does it to replace a counter top? And there are going to be other issues in this case. Issues of claim of right of certain properties this is not an open and shut case of who owned the property at what time,” defense attorney Albert Arena said.
A judge issued an arrest warrant last week for the Acostas and the police department placed Robert on "administrative leave."
Neighbors said on Monday that the couple told them that their credit union refused to modify their mortgage and gave them until July to move out. Residents said the Acosta's former home was the nicest on the block -- neighbors called it the Castle.
According to Arena, any items -- including decorative gates and air conditioning units -- that the Acostas allegedly took from the home, were their property anyway.