crimesider

Self-proclaimed Texas closet thief: "Designer" gear is fake!

Theresa Roemer standing in front of her 3,000-square-foot closet.


CBS affiliate KHOU

HOUSTON - A person claiming to be responsible for the theft of nearly $1 million in designer bags, jewelry and furs from a Houston woman's 3,000-square-foot closet sent several of the stolen items to a weekly newspaper.

The items were stolen Aug. 2 from a closet in the home of Theresa Roemer, who uses the room for charity fundraisers.

The alleged burglar also spoke to a reporter with the Houston Press through a voice modulator, making it difficult to tell whether the person is a man or a woman.

Craig Malisow, the Houston Press reporter, said he first talked to the alleged burglar on Tuesday and later received a large brown envelope covered with stamps filled with about 10 to 15 items of jewelry and a man's watch.

"It was kind of odd," Malisow said, of his conversations with the purported burglar. "It sounded like he felt like he was wronged - because when he went to go fence this stuff, he was allegedly told this was fake ... it kind of felt like he was the victim here."

A locket containing a lock of hair the alleged burglar claims was Roemer's dead son's was also reportedly included in the package sent to the newspaper. He died in a car crash in 2006.

According to the Houston Press, the burglar had requested more than $500,000 from Roemer to return the stolen items and not tell reporters that they were allegedly fake.

Roemer told the Houston Chronicle the suspected burglar contacted her Aug. 6, demanding half a million dollars.

"He tried to hold me ransom for my stuff," she said.

Roemer and authorities believe recent TV and magazine publicity about her three-story closet attracted the burglar to her home in The Woodlands.

In surveillance video of the burglary, an intruder, wearing a jump suit and a hoodie, broke in through a bathroom window. The video shows he made four trips over 40 minutes, filling designer luggage with loot.

Roemer said she believed that because of the media's coverage, the burglar was unable to pawn the items.

"He never anticipated my (burglary) going viral - but because the closet went viral, the burglary went viral," she said.

Over the last week Roemer received "numerous" calls from the alleged burglar.

"This person is just bound and determined to just keep bothering me," she said.

Montgomery County Sheriff's Office investigators have retrieved the items sent to the newspaper.

"We're trying to identify whoever sent these items in," said sheriff's office Lt. Brady Fitzgerald.