12-year-old Hallie Pritchard set up a webcam in her bedroom to catch her sisters red-handed messing with her stuff.
But the footage she saw was much more alarming.Video: 12-year-old girl catches thief on webcam (on this page)
A thief had used the Pritchard family's open house to as an opportunity to make off with loot, and thanks to Hallie's webcam, the alleged burglar is behind bars.
The Pritchards, of Orinda, Cal., put their stately home up for sale last August, but while they were showing off their house to buyers, tween Hallie was setting a trap.
“I (hid the webcam) under a bunch of pillows…so you can see the whole room,” she told NBC San Francisco in a report on TODAY Thursday. “I was trying to catch my sisters because they usually take things out of my room.”
Hallie wasn’t present during the open house, but when she returned home a few hours later, she set up her laptop to see what her webcam had captured. “I saw my chair move and I was like, ‘What was that?’ “ she said. “And I saw him come through our hallway then come into my room looking through my drawers.”Story: Teen who hid from home invaders: 'I stayed calm'
Dad Chris Pritchard said, “She comes running down the stairs screaming, ‘Oh, my God, somebody ripped us off!’ (I said) ‘Really?’ We looked at the video….It was really shocking.”
While the family didn’t recognize the man, police did: He was identified as Douglas John Calandrella, a 46-year-old former real estate agent who had a history of stealing from open houses. He managed to stuff his pockets with a diamond necklace, diamond bracelet and cash from Hallie’s room.
Hallie is hoping to reclaim her possessions now that an arrest has been made, and she can’t help being a bit proud of herself for playing high-tech Nancy Drew.
“It doesn’t really happen much, like, a 12-year-old catches a guy stealing,” she said.
Already on probation for first degree burglary, Calandrella is being held without bail at the West County Jail in Richmond, Cal.
© 2013 NBCNews.com Reprints