FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. – Two vandals are being blamed for causing up $500,000 in damage to a new Nassau County hotel, a month before its scheduled opening.
Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper said 21-year-old Rafael De Jesus Charriez and 20-year-old Sage Chrzanoski broke into the Hilton Home2 Suites hotel on Sadler Road in Fernandina Beach around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Investigators said they damaged 33 rooms and the lobby.
Some of the damage could be seen from the road Thursday as crews worked to clean up the mess left behind.
Leeper provided cell phone video he said one of the men recorded as they were vandalizing the hotel.
"You can look at the video and realize that he’s on something," Leeper told News4Jax.
The physical evidence is all over the property. It includes broken windows, now covered up with plastic, shattered glass as well as couches and appliances thrown from the 3rd and 4th floor.
“It’s crazy that someone would do something like this,” Leeper said. “Obviously they are drunk or they’re on drugs or something. They’re nuts, really.”
Besides smashing furniture, appliances and windows, deputies reported the men set off fire extinguishers and a fire alarm before running away. The alarm alerted authorities and firefighters reported the burglary. It was unclear if the pair stole anything.
Two Fernandina Beach Police officers found one of the men riding by the roundabout at the end of Sadler Road and Fletcher Drive on a bicycle with evidence on his shoes and pants.
Leeper said Chrzanoski had powder from the fire extinguishers on him and that helped deputies track down his accused partner in crime, Charriez. Both men admitted to the mayhem, according to the arrest report, and were arrested on felony burglary and vandalism charges. The hotel estimated the damages between $300,000 and $500,000.
No one answered at either of their Fernandina Beach homes Thursday.
The sheriff said the vandals should serve some serious jail time for what they did.
“Real winners,” he said. “I’m sure their mothers are proud of them.”
Leeper said it appeared the hotel will still open in December as scheduled. The hotel managers had no comment about what happened.