A burglar visited his home over Thanksgiving weekend when a family from Monrovia was away, eating their food, apparently watering the lawn, and finally leaving with their Christmas presents.
Lorie Hope and her two teenage daughters had left town for the long weekend to visit family and on their return found their two-story home near Monterey Avenue and Huntington Drive ransacked and many possessions missing, she said.
Monrovia police said Thursday they were investigating.
“There were Christmas presents taken, including a Razor electric scooter and a few other things,” Lt. Sarah Covarrubias said. “We are working with (Hope) and some of the neighbors who may have seen the suspect.”
An iPad, GoPro camera, clothes and the ring of Hope’s late mother were also taken, Hope said.
“We are yet to find out what is missing,” she said. “They searched all of our closets, stole Amazon packages with the gifts, and took my mom’s ring off the table.
“They didn’t leave anything untouched,” she said. “There was no sacred space.”
Police have identified a potential suspect.
Hope said the incident was particularly terrifying for her, as her mother was killed in a home invasion a few years ago. The ring, Hope said, is the one item of sentimental value that cannot be replaced.
She checked with the pawn shops, hoping that would happen.
A window blind that had not been touched before was drawn. A print that did not match any of the family members was on the toilet, with a nearby mosquito net removed. All of their closets and drawers, as well as their bags of clothes to be donated to Goodwill, had been stolen.
A neighbor told ABC7 he saw a man cleaning the backyard. Hope said the suspect even watered her lawn.
Days after digesting what happened, Hope said she felt pity for the one who robbed her house.
Halloween candy, missing markers and art supplies strewn across the living room floor, cartoon sketches and poetry left in the house. An amp and a guitar were taken out of a closet; apparently the burglar walked away.
All of this made Hope think the intruder was a troubled teenager.
“He was just a passing teenager,” she said. “He drew pictures and ate candy. I know he’s not even a criminal, really.
A family friend set up a GoFundMe for the family, and it had passed $ 5,600 by Thursday.
Hope and her two teenage daughters were still shaken by the intrusion. But she feels sympathy for the suspect, who she believes is probably her daughters’ age.
“There is a good chance that this is a child that I would probably adopt,” she said.