A thief escaped from a Rancho Santa Margarita neighborhood on Monday, eluding patrol officers, a K-9 unit and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department helicopter.
The real news, though, might be that RSM may have a motivated jewel thief in its midst.
In the last two weeks, someone has knocked off two residences in the same vicinity, the streets separated by 21 houses.
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Lt. Brian Schmutz, chief of police services in Rancho Santa Margarita, said the crime is still under investigation and OCSD investigators are not yet sure if the incidents are connected.
"Traditionally, burglars don't just burglarize one house, usually they're responsible for several," Schmutz said. "We're unsure at this point if this is connected to any other crimes."
The action on Tuesday went down at 12:59 p.m., when a resident returned home to his Mandevilla address and opened the door on a burglary in progress.
The suspect, described as a white male between 20 and 30 years old, broke the back window of the home and hopped the backyard fence toward the Lantana cul-de-sac.
The man was wearing a white t-shirt, jeans and white tennis shoes.
The victim confirmed the loss of jewelry.
It’s the second time in less than two weeks that someone has entered an unoccupied RSM home and absconded with jewels.
On Oct. 7, a resident returned home from Las Vegas to discover jewels and medication, valued at $42,000, was stolen from his home on Via Ulmaria.
The burglary Tuesday occurred in the neighborhood adjacent to the north of the Via Ulmaria burglary between Las Flores and Plano Trabuco Road. The neighborhood is east of Trabuco Mesa Elementary School.
Anyone who may have clues or witnessed the suspect can call Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855-TIP-OCCS (855-847-0227) or by going online at occrimestoppers.com.