Woman arrested in brazen burglary in Cottonwood Heights
COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — An alleged burglar accused of brazenly walking into a woman's bedroom while the homeowner was still in bed was arrested Tuesday.
Just after 6 a.m., a woman sleeping in her bed at home near 6675 S. 2300 East heard a creaking noise coming from her bedroom floor. She woke up to find an intruder in her room, said Cottonwood Heights Police Sgt. Gary Young.
The homeowner confronted the woman, who ran out of the house and over a fence. Officers swarmed the area quickly after 911 was called and caught the burglar just two blocks away, Young said.
Barbara Lauree Fite, 50, also known as Barbara Lauree Valenzuela, who initially told police her name was Barbara Henderson, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of felony burglary.
Detectives learned that Fite had entered the woman's house after spotting a rear patio sliding glass door that had been left slightly open to allow cooler air to come inside the house, Young said.
She had already been in the house once and took backpacks with other personal items inside, dropped them off in her car out front, and then went back into the house, he said. The second time inside was when the homeowner woke up.
Investigators were looking Tuesday at whether Fite could be linked to any other recent burglaries. She has a long criminal history, according to Utah state court records dating back two decades.
Fite was convicted of felony forgery in 2012 in 3rd District Court and sentenced to up to five years at the Utah State Prison. She was ordered to serve that time concurrently with another prison sentence she received the month before after being convicted of two counts of forgery and theft by deception, a third-degree felonies.
Young said the incident is a good reminder for residents to keep their doors closed and locked at night, even though they may be looking for ways to beat the heat.
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