BURLINGTON (CBS) - When Rachel Sweeney came out to her car on Monday morning, the news wasn't good.
"They'd stolen my stuff," she says. "So I was freaked out, but more upset that that my Christmas gifts were gone."
Sometime overnight, right in front of her Burlington house, a crook had swiped her iPod from the parked Nissan Altima -- plus some 'North Face' brand jackets and hoodies she'd just bought as Christmas gifts and left on the back seat.
WBZ-TV's Ken MacLeod reports
She called police, but figured it was 460 bucks down the drain.
"People steal stuff all the time," Sweeney laments, "and they never find them."
Rachel had bought the stuff in Saugus, but the Burlington Mall is much closer to home.
So she and her boyfriend, Stephen Trevisone, went to the mall Monday night to once again purchase the items that had been stolen.
But as they were checking out at Macy's, Rachel spotted something, and her sixth sense kicked-in.
It was 22-year-old Sebastien Lerebours entering the store, wearing a hoodie identical to one swiped from her car.
"I was like 'Let's just see. Something's fishy here,'" says Sweeney. "It could just be a coincidence and I could be wrong, but let me just scope it out."
Her boyfriend warned her against outright accusing somebody with proof, so she watched as the guy unbagged the exact items stolen from her and tried to return them.
"And the guy was telling the cashier 'I don't have a receipt. I bought it off a buddy on the street,'" says Sweeney with a scowl on her face.
"She knew it," says Burlington police officer Bernie Schipelliti. "I always tell people to trust their gut and in this circumstance it really worked out for her."
She summoned both store security and police, while producing the original sales receipt to prove her case.
"So it showed with 100% certainly it was our stuff," says Sweeney. "I couldn't believe it. I am like the luckiest person in the world right now."
Burlington police arrested Sebastien Lerebours, and a search of his car turned up all sorts of stolen stuff -- including Rachel and Steve's iPods and a bunch of hot GPS units.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Laurie Kirby reports
Lerebours has been charged with receiving stolen property.
Officer Bernie Schipelliti hasn't seen anything like it.
"It's one in a million shot to actually get back something that was stolen from a car," he says shaking his head. "Timing is everything in this world."
"It's just a great story," says Sweeney with a chuckle.
Yes it is.
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