NEW ORLEANS - A brazen burglar broke into a single mom's home in New Orleans, hauling away valuables including her young son's Christmas presents.
The break-in happened on Friday in the 1300 block of Riviera Street in the Gentilly neighborhood around 9:30 a.m. Julie Lodato says the burglar took TVs from her and her nine-year-old son's bedrooms, a computer and other items.
The burglar also went through her closets.
"He found all the hidden Christmas presents I had in the closet," Lodato said. "It's sad."
Lodato says the burglar tried to enter the house through her bedroom window, but ended up using garden tools from her shed to break in through a side door. The Grinch then went room to room, rummaging items as he slithered through the house, even taking her paperwork.
"I guess just like bank statements and things with my social security number on it," Lodato said.
There's quite a bit of construction, mostly post-Katrina rebuilds in the Oak Park subdivision where Lodato lives. Neighbors say there are always work crews coming and going and that has lowered their guard when it comes to strangers in their neighborhood.
"To be honest with you, this was very shocking," Gentilly neighbor Carl Irving said. "Our neighborhood has been very secure. People get along and watch out for each other, but it was just like we couldn't tell who it is."
Lodato thinks the burglar may have parked at the abandoned house behind her property and loaded up her belongings undetected.The NOPD is investigating the break-in and investigators say home surveillance cameras in the neighborhood recorded images of the burglar.
Friends raised money to help Lodato and her son recover from the burglary.
"With that money, I'm hoping to be able to build a fence in my backyard," Lodato said.
She says the burglar may have stolen her stuff, but not her Christmas spirit.