FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --A Tower District home up for sale and empty of residents was filled up with several thieves this week. Now, the family is asking for help to recover one of the stolen paintings.
Officers believe the suspects may have attended an earlier open house and after seeing the furnishings the couple had decided to come back and steal them. Before hitting the market, the owners of the North Poplar Avenue home staged the furniture, polished the windows and decorated the porch. But their efforts attracted people other than potential buyers.
"We're assuming they came in through these windows because of the hand prints over here," said owner Kylie Lawson while motioning to the ground. "And over here you can see the hand prints. These are really small."
Earlier this week, a realtor discovered the back door of the house left wide open. Inside, furniture and artwork were missing and to the couple's horror a painting bought in China, framed with love by one of their fathers was also gone.
"I'm just crushed because everything else in the house is replaceable and materialistic items," said owner Katie, who only gave her first name. "I can always put in an insurance claim for the TV, but I can't get this painting back. We can't rebuy that"
Lawson believes the suspects used an extension ladder to gain access to an unlocked loft. She said the burglars were sloppy. They left hand prints upstairs and it one they believe one belongs to a child.
"It's awful. I can't imagine someone involving a child," she said. "Even admitting doing something like this with their child, much less involving them in the act."
The couple said break-ins a part of the reason they're selling. They are expecting their first child and want to find an area with a safer environment
"We have fantastic neighbors but we are surrounded by a lot of crime living in Tower," Katie said.
Kylie said she's learned her lesson and the couple's moved everything into a U-Haul. Now, they're just hoping that painting close to their hearts surfaces down the road.
"We wanted it to look nice to a potential buyer," she said. "I would say if you really love something, don't leave it."
The back of the painting has the owner's name and a date and the family is also offering a $500 reward to anyone who returns the painting.