Lisa Meagher had a full house in Roland Park in the early afternoon of July 18, with people visiting from out of town, a plumber working in the basement, and the family dog in the front yard.
The possibility of a home invasion was the farthest thing from her mind.
But when they locked the dog in the back yard and left the house on Woodlawn Road for awhile, the last person to leave forgot to set the alarm. While they were gone, burglars apparently used a crowbar to pry open the front door.
"And in they went," Meagher said ruefully. Her 20-year-old son returned about 90 minutes later from running errands and found the front door ajar at 2:45 p.m., with the house ransacked and a desktop computer, jewelry and a pillow case missing.
A short time later, on St. Johns Road, 19-year-old Rebecca Cooper came home and parked her car behind a navy blue Crown Victoria, whose driver immediately began honking his horn. Three men then fled from the house, carrying loot — including jewelry in a pillow case, which they dropped nearby as they made their escape, according to Cooper's mother, Jennifer.
Some of the jewelry belonged to the St. Johns Road family, but some of it was in boxes with Meagher's name on them.
Meagher said she got her jewelry back, but the computer, which had 10 years worth of family photos on it, has yet to turn up.
"The lesson to be learned is, back up your computer (files) and set your alarm," said Meagher, who has lived in the neighborhood for more than 10 years.
Jennifer Cooper, an eight-year resident of Roland Park, said her daughter wrote down the license plate of the Crown Victoria.
The thieves stole mostly "silly stuff," including old computer monitors, which they also dropped as they fled, Jennifer Cooper said. But they did make off with some jewelry and gift cards, she said, adding that it appeared they had staged more items at the bottom of the stairs, as if they planned to load them into their car.
Meagher and Jennifer Cooper are most frustrated that the burglaries happened in broad daylight.
"That's really bold," Cooper said.