Detectives in Torrance sent out a warning to residents this week, urging them to lock their doors and windows at night after three separate "cat burglaries" occurred within 10 days in the city.
The burglar or burglars earn their nickname because they slip into people's homes through unlocked doors and windows, usually getting away without being detected in the middle of the night.
The first of the burglaries occurred on Mar.21 at 2:30 a.m. in the 22900 block of Anza Avenue, according to police.
The victim told NBC4 she and her kids were fast asleep when she woke up to someone walking around her house.
"I screamed, I ran fast and I find my main door open and there's somebody there," said Hasna Maroufi. "I see the back of somebody -- and I called the police right away."
Maroufi was surprised to learn that she was the first of three residents hit by the "cat burglar."
Less than a week later, another cat burglary took place on the 21800 block of Linda Drive. In this incident, a man in his late teens snuck into a home through an unlock door, according to police.
Another home was hit on March 30 on the 4800 block of Via El Sereno.
Small electronics were taken in the two most recent burglaries.
While in many of these cases the stolen property may not amount to very much, police said cat burglaries are of particular concern because they can very quickly escalate into something much more serious.
"You have somebody who's going into a house to steal property, with the potential of having a person inside because the time of day, or nighttime when it's going on," Torrance Police Sgt. Robert Watt said. "That's a bit of concern to us because we don't know what could lead to - some kind of assault possibly on either side."
Police said one of the burglars may have been in his late teens or early 20's with a husky build, but the descriptions are considered too vague to be of much use to the public.
Police are urging residents to check their doors and windows at night.