Thieves brave toxic fumes to break into homes being fumigated for pests

At least 10 fumigated homes targeted in series

SAN DIEGO - When Audrey Karl returned to her Scripps Ranch home after it was fumigated for pests, she started noticing missing items from around the house.

At first, it was a laptop computer. Then, it was some jewelry. Next, it was $1,600 in cash.

"When police came, they found a footprint on [the bed]," Karl told 10News. "Somebody had invaded my space ... it's a real creepy feeling."

Karl's home was one of at least 10 around San Diego to be targeted as it was being treated for termites. San Diego police said the break-ins have been happening in Scripps Ranch, Mira Mesa, Otay Mesa and Rancho Peñasquitos, many of them from May to August. 

In Otay Mesa, four of the break-ins occurred in the 2500 block of Caminito Avellano at an apartment complex. Police say the same fumigation company was used during the crimes, which appear to be related.

"We are exploring all angles, employees, companies, other suspects that may have known the routine of this company. Anything is a possibility right now," explained San Diego police Lt. Kevin Mayer, who did not release the name of the business. "All the stuff [the suspects take] seems pretty easy to carry and that's what these criminals are targeting."

Things like laptops, other electronics, jewelry, watches and cash. 

If you plan on tenting your home, you can always ask your fumigation company for any added security requests. You can also call the San Diego Police Department, which offers senior volunteers to patrol your home while you are away.

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