TODAY | October 07, 2012
>>> lot of folks worry when they go on vacation. they lock the front door and hope everything will be fine when they get home. we have the story of a south carolina family that returned from vacation and everything appeared to be as they left it until they went online. nbc's janet shamlian has their story.
>> reporter: it's not unusual to find party pictures on facebook . but what if you logtd on and saw photos of a rowdy bash thrown by strangers, then realized you recognized the scene all too well?
>> i'm looking at this saying this is inside my house.
>> reporter: a south carolina man who asked not to be identified for his children's sake, says that's what happened while he and his family were on vacation, an out-of-control party in his home without his ever knowing about it.
>> one of them was, you know, dancing around with a funnel in his hand, the other one throwing up in the sink, a bunch of kids laying all over the floor.
>> reporter: the man says the intruders were his son's own classmates who he says owned up to his kids about what happened months after the july party.
>> the kids started chiming back on facebook saying, while you guys were in new york in july these guys had broke into the house.
>> reporter: the family never suspected when they returned from a trip to new york. the house looked exactly as they left it.
>> then they came back the next day, we found out, and cleaned everything up, put everything back, even did the dishes.
>> reporter: a broken screen is the only evidence.
>> right there.
>> reporter: the dad says the partiers toll his kids they pulled it out and got the in through an unlocked window. and this isn't the first time it's happened. a foreclosed home in the miami area was broken into earlier this year. police say a teen spray painted it, then posted a video online inviting everyone over to party.
>> you're sitting here feeling completely violated.
>> reporter: but the dad in south carolina says police tell him it's an open investigation, and they're using fphoto tags to identify the students.
>> if the kids weren't bragging about it or showing it via facebook , nothing would have came out of it. they would have gotten completely away with it.
>> reporter: busted by online sharing as photos reveal what had been a well-kept secret. for "today," janet shamlian , nbc news, houston.