Mercer Island home hit by high school 'bling ring'
MERCER ISLAND, Wash. -- Six Mercer Island High School students could soon face charges after a drinking party turned into a high-priced burglary.
Mercer Island police say it happened in late February after a home owner left with her family on vacation to Hawaii. In a police report, she told investigators she left her nephew in charge of watching the house, but, instead, he invited close to 30 friends over for an alcohol party.
Investigators say after the party ended and everyone left, several suspects returned to the home through an unlocked door. Once inside, police say, they stole $21,000 worth of electronics, including an Apple iPad, XBox, a Louis Vuitton wallet and a BotTega Veneta purse, Nikon camera and lens, and 20 to 30 bottles of wine and cognac worth $6,000.
All six students arrested are either 17 or 18 years old. All of them still attend Mercer Island High School and most were handcuffed during school hours in the school principal's office.
KOMO News talked with one of the students who was arrested -- we're not naming him because he has not been charged. He says he attended the party, but he claims he didn't steal anything and instead he helped the victim's retrieve cash and other items worth up to $7,000.
"I didn't steal anything... I didn't steal a single thing," he says. "I felt bad for the kid... he came to me the next day and he knew I might be able to help him get stuff back and when he asked... I, of course, felt obliged to help him, so I did."
The 18-year-old suspect says he spent 24 hours in King County Jail before being released. Police say they'll send his and the other five cases to King County prosecutors in the next few days. It will then be up to the prosecutor to file charges.