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California woman charged with Glendale open house jewelry theft

Posted at 9:22 PM, Jun 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-07 10:32:58-04

GLENDALE -- Tens of thousands of dollars worth of jewelry reportedly swiped from a Glendale open house lands a California woman behind bars.

51-year-old Janet Barnes has been charged with felony theft.

A Glendale couple hosted an open house a couple weeks ago in the hopes that a stranger might buy their home, but that decision ended up costing them after they realized $24,000 worth of bracelets, necklaces and rings were missing.

Court documents state the prized stolen possession was a ring valued at over $10,000. It was a family heirloom.

“I was really surprised to hear about that, but I also realize that you’re vulnerable when you open your house like that and invite strangers in,” said Dan Kelly.

Kelly lives next to the victim who asked us not to identify her house or its location. The real estate agent told police Barnes came to the open house right as it started.

“While in the upstairs (the agent) stated that the subject asked to use the bathroom,” read the criminal complaint. “A short time later, (the agent) stated that the subject came downstairs and left the residence without saying anything.”

“Anything that’s small enough to stick in their pocket I would not leave out,” Kelly said.

A real estate company told police that there were several similar incidents reported within the last few weeks in Shorewood, Milwaukee and Menomonee Falls.

“(Police) discovered that the defendant had sold several items of jewelry at Derzon Coins and Stein’s Jewelers,” stated the criminal complaint.

When police made contact with Barnes, she admitted to selling the jewelry, calling her decision “stupid”.

“These are crimes of opportunity, unfortunately that’s the way things are now,” Kelly said.

The victim declined an on-camera interview, but she told TODAY’S TMJ4 that police have been able to recover most of her stolen jewelry. Unfortunately, not the most expensive ring.