She rang the doorbell and rang it again. No one came, so the visitor walked to the house's side entry and let herself in through an unlocked door. At that time, the homeowner walked downstairs and found himself face-to-face with what he called "A Gypsy" in his Lake Bluff home.
"What are you doing here," he asked the woman.
She replied she was looking for her cat. With confidence, she said she had been there the night before and talked with the homeowner's wife about the missing cat. She was checking in again to see if they'd seen it.
The homeowner did not recognize the woman. He had never seen her in the neighborhood. He had never seen her anywhere. He also realized her story had holes.
"We were out of town until this morning," he said, still shocked to be talking to a stranger who let herself in while he and his daughter were upstairs at home.
"Well, then," replied the woman, backing out the door. She scuttled down the driveway, into a waiting white van and drove away. Still stunned, the man called 911, but the woman was never found.
Burglaries such as this are on the rise in Lake Bluff, Lake Forest and other North Shore communities. They are occurring so often that the Lake Bluff police today issued a crime alert:
"These crimes involved entry through unlocked doors and in all cases a theft was committed," the alert states. "Many of these burglaries happened during daylight hours. Items that were taken consisted of cash, jewelry, electronics and other property that could be pawned, such as tools and computer equipment."
The alert warns residents that these burglaries are "a crime of opportunity," and it urges people to lock all windows and doors, among other things. Click on these blue words–crime alert–to read the full text of the police department's warnings.
As for the case of "The Gypsy," which occurred in August: Since then, the family members lock the doors at all times, even when they are in the house or working in the garden. And they have a new appreciation for their dog, who is a barker.