A file photo of a police vehicle on April 1, 2021. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
A California woman returned home after a week to find her apartment burglarized—and her neighbor hiding in her closet.
Brittany Heinzman, 35, had returned to her apartment in Irvine, Calif., after spending a week away for the holidays.
When she returned Dec. 1, she said she discovered the front door unlocked and her apartment ransacked.
As she examined her apartment, she opened her closet door to find a woman crouched inside, clutching several of Ms. Heinzman’s kitchen utensils, according to the Irvine Police Department
“She just looked at me like a deer in headlights and I just screamed, ‘Get out! get out!’” Ms. Heinzman told local news outlet KTLA.
According to Ms. Heinzman, the intruder said, “‘Please don’t hurt me,’ but that just threw me off more. I’m like, ‘Are you going to hurt me?’ because she has a pizza cutter in her hand. I didn’t know.”
The intruder fled the apartment, and Ms. Heinzman and a friend tried to follow her through the apartment complex, capturing several photos and videos of the woman.
Authorities identified the suspect as Wendy Wilkinson, 43, who lived in the same apartment complex, and obtained a search warrant, the Irvine Police Department said in a statement on Facebook.
Ms. Wilkinson was arrested for burglary and possession of stolen property.
Police said that they searched the suspect’s home, car and storage unit and found more than $30,000 worth of Ms. Heinzman’s belongings—including two televisions, several designer handbags, a passport, and credit cards.
The suspect had also used the victim’s credit cards to make unauthorized purchases.
Court records show Ms. Wilkinson has a history of similar crimes and may be a serial burglar.
Ms. Heinzman additionally questioned the apartment complex’s security protocols.
“Where was security?” she asked KTLA News
. “I feel like I’ve just been stripped down to nothing. To have somebody go through your every drawer, your every cabinet, take your passport, take everything personal, you’re just left with so many questions.”
Ms. Heinzman additionally said that she’s moving from the area because she no longer feels safe.
Ms. Wilkinson pleaded not guilty to first degree residential burglary and identity theft, according to KTLA News.