Atherton residents Dean and Clary lost more than valuables when their home was burglarized -- flooding from a broken faucet caused about $1 million in damage to the house. Photo by Magali Gauthier.
During an evening in November, an Atherton resident saw a "river" of water running down a neighbor's driveway.
The neighbor called the homeowner and police. In the flooded home, first responders found a bathtub faucet handle lying next to a safe.
Burglars had apparently entered the house and broken off the handle to use as a tool to try to open the safe. When the home began to flood from water leaking from the broken handle, a fire alarm sounded and the thieves fled.
The result? Mold, a home gutted after 16 hours of flooding and about $1 million in structural damage. Burglars also took about $20,000 of items stolen (mostly jewels).
The homeowners, Clary and Dean, are among the 28 families burglarized in town in 2021. It appears the case is tied to the string of burglaries tied to Chilean gang members, the couple and police said.