CLOVERDALE -- On the surface, home break-ins can seem like just nothing more than criminal mischief.
But for the victims of such crimes, the aftermath can be harrowing.
One such victim in Cloverdale -- who spoke on the condition of anonymity -- has been a target on several occasions.
"Our house has been burglarized three times and the vehicles have been gone through twice," she said. "I can't remember the dates except for Monday, June 28, 2010. I was the last to leave for work, which was at 7 a.m., and I returned at 5:15 p.m. They had been in the house sometimes between those times."
The common denominator in all the break-ins at the victim's home has been drugs.
"This last time, the only thing that was taken was my medication," she said. "Prescription medication mostly. They emptied bottles of Tylenol Arthritis medicine, Tylenol, Benadryl, and over the counter meds and left the empty bottles with the lids off. They took six prescriptions in the original bottles with labels on them."
The victim doesn't believe the thieves even knew what they were taking.
"The sad part is all the meds were for diabetes or high blood pressure except for a anti-depressant, for which the dosage is so low it would not affect anyone unless they choose to take the whole bottle," she said. "They also took a new box of syringe needles that I use to administer insulin because I am diabetic."
The loss took a financial as well as a financial toll on the victim.
"I only replaced the prescription meds last night and it cost me $319," she said. "Just enough that renter's insurance does no good because of $500 deductible."
The victim said cleaning up afterwards was also taxing.
"Everything had been gone through," she said. "All the drawers had been dumped. Storage boxes had been gone through. Closets had been gone through and the shelves were all thrown on the floor along with clothes taken off hangers and everything gone through. Kitchen cabinets had been gone through. The refrigerator and freezer had been gone through and food knocked out on the floor left to thaw. The mattress was off the bed and they had gone through storage boxes under the bed.
"They had used band-aids and left the empty papers in the bathroom sink," she continued. "Nothing was missing except medicine. There were several things they could have taken and sold to get money, but it is obvious they were after drugs."
Meds were also taken during the first break-in.
"They took needles and prescription meds," the victim said. "That time they took my husband's and left mine. My husband's was something that the police said they could use to make meth. Things were not gone through and demolished like they were the last time."
The victim and her husband have lived in the Stardust Hills subdivision since September 2005.
"We have rented two different places," she said. "The place we live in now we moved to in October of 2009."
The first time the victim's home was burglarized was sometime last summer, and that incident also occurred when neither she nor her husband were at home.
"The second time was 10:30 at night," she said. "I was in the bathtub and my husband was in bed. Someone came through the backdoor and walked straight through the trailer to where they had found medication before. He woke up my husband, who saw him and tried to keep him there, but my husband could not get to the phone and the man ran out the back door. Pretty brave ... walked right in and through the house."
After each incident, the victim and her husband filed a report with the Cloverdale Police Department.
Cloverdale Town Marshal Jon Chadd said break-in incidents have been "picking up in the Stardust Hills area over the past few months."
"What I want people to know is that things are just about to be handled," Chadd said.
Chadd said the break-ins at the victim's home are likely connected to other break-ins in the area.
"We're looking at six people," Chadd said.
Chadd agreed with the victim about what is causing the crime spike.
"Drugs are driving it all," he said. "That's what they're going after. They aren't stealing computers and electronics. They want nothing but the drugs."
Chadd said Cloverdale is a prime area for drug activity.
"People don't have jobs, so they get hooked on dope and then they start dealing," he said. "Cloverdale is a huge hub for a lot that goes on in this county because of how close it is to the interstate."
Chadd said a very lethal drug -- heroin -- has crept into Cloverdale.
"It's here," he said. "And it kills people."
The break-ins have left the victim feeling very vulnerable.
"Naturally you feel unsafe," she said. "You wonder if you are being watched, and why did they pick your house? Your home is just not the same after you know someone has been in it that does not belong there. I wonder what they could have done to the food in the refrigerator and freezer. You lay awake at night wondering when they will come back. I just replaced all my meds; now where do I keep them that someone doesn't get them again? I could never replace them again because I don't have the money. It was hard to come up with the money the second time.
"I wondered who will walk in while I take a bath or sleep at night," she continued. "You are never the same after it happens."