A Normal Heights woman says feelings of uneasiness will haunt her for years to come after her home, which was tented and being fumigated, was burglarized last week.
The woman, a 27-year-old nurse at Rady Children’s Hospital who wants to be identified only as Mary, told NBC 7 her home on 32nd Street was ransacked by burglars on Jan. 26.
Her home was being fumigated and the burglars had to slash through the corner of a tent to break in. They then covered the sliced part of the tent with a trash can so others couldn’t see the damage. They came in through windows that were open due to the fumigation process.
Mary thinks the job was done by burglars who are experts at targeting homes that are being fumigated.
Once the suspects were inside, they sifted through Mary’s closet and drawers, throwing items all over the floor. They stole her tax returns and valuable identification documents leaving her feeling very vulnerable.
“They went through [everything] that had all my identity,” Mary told NBC 7. “At that point, it was a pitting feeling of what the possibility of that is.”
The burglars also took some of her most valuable possessions, including grandmother’s ring and coins that belonged to her grandfather.
"Everything's gone," Mary lamented.
She said the suspects also stole her peace of mind and ability to sleep at night, as the incident feels like the utmost violation of her personal space.
“I have pictures on the wall. I’m part of a church. What did they think when they were going through these things?” she said.
Mary said her biggest fear is that, in looking at her photos, the burglars know what she looks like and where she lives. She said the fear of the unknown will haunt her for a very long time.
"The harder part is going to sleep because at night is where those thoughts run -- it's where the fear comes in," she said. "It's where the anxiesties come in. The hard part is at night."
As a nurse, she knows just how much a person’s home – their safe, private space – can mean to someone.
“I get to serve others, I get to help them and it brings me such joy,” said Mary. “I go to people’s houses, and help them stay home.”
Mary hopes her experience will serve as a lesson for others. Thinking back on it, she said her home was an "open target" for thieves.
"That's probably why they came. It was a red flag, like, 'Here, take me,'" said Mary.
She advises people gather their important documents and belongings before having their homes fumigated and take those things with them. She also suggests people make arrangements to have their homes watched overnight if they’re being fumigated, either by hired security or family members.
NBC 7 reached out to the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) Monday to get an update on Mary’s case. Police confirmed the incident happened on Jan. 26; the investigation is ongoing.
It is unknown, at this point, if this case is connected to a spree of similar break-ins at properties being fumigated.