About $20,000 in jewelry, electronics, furniture and art were taken from a Mountain View home over the weekend in a brazen burglary that police said could have been avoided.
The victim, a 58-year-old woman, returned from being away for the weekend to find that her home in the 400 block of Loreto Street had been burglarized, according to Mountain View police spokeswoman Liz Wylie.
"We're not exactly sure how they got in," Wylie said, but theorized that the thief or thieves gained entry through one of the house's many unlocked windows. The woman had left one window partially open to allow her cats to get in and out. Other windows were unlocked.
Police believe that the burglar or burglars had a vehicle — perhaps a van or truck — because of how much was taken.
Among the items missing: a painted wooden table, four framed lithographs, lots of jewelry, cash, a sculpture, six brown leather dining room chairs, a lamp, a digital camera, a laptop, about 40 CDs and a television, according to Wylie.
The estimated value of everything that was taken totals about $20,000, Wylie said.
"Always lock your house — that's always the No. 1 takeaway," Wylie said, referring to burglaries in general. "These types of crimes are not always preventable, but they are almost always preventable."
Burglars are generally criminals of opportunity, Wylie said. They often do not want to physically break into homes, as it is easy to find homes that are unlocked — "especially in nice neighborhoods."
Wylie advised people to always lock their homes when they are away and, when going on long trips, to recruit a trusted neighbor to look out for anything strange.