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Cottonwood Heights: Burglar nabbed after alleged break-in at cop's house

Published July 31, 2013 10:24 am

Crime • Police say thief had made one trip, returned for more loot.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

On a hot, summer's night, don't leave your glass sliding door ajar; someone with a history of burglary might just walk inside while you sleep.

Even if you are a cop.

That is exactly what Cottonwood Heights police say career thief Barbara Laureen Fite did, despite the homeowner — an otherwise unidentified Salt Lake Valley area police officer — still dozing in bed just feet away. The homeowner awoke with a start about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday after hearing her bedroom floor creak and seeing the 50-year-old intruder.

The homeowner initially restrained the suspect, but the intruder broke loose and fled as the homeowner tried to call 911. Responding police said they found Fite in a car a block away from the home, near 6700 South and 2300 East, along with the homeowner's purse and a backpack stuffed with stolen items.

"It looks like the suspect had loaded up on one trip and then gone back a second time to steal more items when she was discovered," said Cottonwood Heights police Sgt. Mark Askerlund.

Fite, who also goes by the aliases of Laureen Henderson and Barbara Valenzuela, was arrested without further incident. She was booked into the Salt Lake County jail on an "enhanced" count of second-degree residential burglary due to her past criminal history, Askerlund said.

Fite's record includes 2011 convictions for theft, vehicle burglary and giving false information to police and a 2007 felony forgery guilty plea, along with numerous other theft charges.

She was initially held on an order from Adult Probation & Parole, but according to Department of Corrections spokesman Steve Gehrke, Fite had been returned to prison for alleged parole violation as of Wednesday.

remims@sltrib.com

Twitter: @remims