Woman allegedly used open houses to steal

Oct. 20, 2006 at 4:04 PM
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SAN JOSE, Calif., Oct. 20 (UPI) -- A California woman allegedly figured out another way to make money off the state's hot housing market -- using open houses to pave the way for burglary.

Investigators say that a San Jose woman, accompanied by her 13-year-old son and her boyfriend, would pretend to be looking for a house in a high-priced area, the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News reported. The adults would allegedly split up, with one casing the home for small valuable items and the other propping open windows and unlocking doors, police said.

Enrique Garcia, a spokesman for the San Jose police, said that the woman came under suspicion when one owner noticed missing items after an open house. He got in touch with the agent.

Investigators believe that the suspects burglarized at least 15 houses. The woman was being held in the Santa Clara County Jail in lieu of $1.5 million.

The boyfriend and her son have not been charged.

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