A nanny camera caught a contractor red-handed as he was rifling through the underwear drawer of a San Marcos woman.
Ashley Harrell and her husband hired Abraham Avila and his brother to install new flooring downstairs in their home.
The workers were given the explicit instruction not to go upstairs, but Harrell watched via the nanny camera on her phone as Avila searched her bedroom.
"It was an immediate understanding that my worst fears had been realized," she said.
It was not what she expected to see on her phone. It was live video of a stranger sifting through her underwear drawer. Harrell immediately called her husband, still shaken by what she saw.
"Oh yeah, he’s like, you know, 'Oh expletive! I'm coming right now,'" she said.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said the man in the video walking into Harrell’s upstairs master bedroom was Avila.
He immediately started going through her dresser drawer, she said.
"Then he opens the second drawer, happens to rifle through things, which unfortunately is my undergarments," Harrell said. "Then proceeds to pick up my perfume, smell it, put it down. That was creepy, to say the least."
She said she is washing everything in the drawer. Avila then came back a second time, sweeping the room where there was no construction and going through Harrell’s nightstand.
"[He] makes his way around the room sweeping, sweeping, sweeping, starts going through these drawers one by one," she said.
Harrell called 911 as she raced home. Sheriff’s deputies didn’t catch Avila in the act but the nanny cam did. That was good enough for them to charge him with burglary and petty theft.
Harrell said she was shocked when she spoke to Avila’s boss, who is also his brother. She said the brother defended Avila’s actions.
"His quote was, 'The only thing that my brother did wrong was use the bathroom in your upstairs,'" she said.
Not willing to accept that, Harrell snapped an image of Avila in handcuffs and posted it all over social media.
"I did put him on blast," she said. "Partially because it's a public service announcement."
A PSA to be aware of who you hire and to also get yourself a nanny cam.
"If I didn’t have the video, I wouldn’t have known he was here," she said.
Harrell says the company that hired Avila was horrified and immediately covered the cost of her installation, which was completed Thursday.