Edmonton police are looking for a burglar who broke into three homes in Millwoods Wednesday.
In each case, the man rang the doorbell, and when nobody answered, he forced the front door open, acting Staff Sgt. Erik Johnson said.
However, at two of the homes, there were young girls inside when the break-ins occurred, police said.
In the first break-in, a 12-year-old girl who was home at the time ran out the back door and went to a neighbour's house, Johnson said.
"Fifteen minutes after [that], we received another phone call from a panicked father, this time saying that his 13-year-old daughter was home alone and her house was being broken into," Johnson said.
"We fortunately found the 13-year-old girl locked in a bathroom upstairs. She was unharmed, which was good."
Audrey Thorsteinson, the mother of the 13-year-old, said Thursday that the experience has shaken her daughter, Ashley.
"She no longer feels safe in her own home. She doesn't ever want to be home alone," Thorsteinson said.
She said her daughter did the right thing by barricading herself in an upstairs washroom after the thief broke into the house.
"I was just praying to God he wouldn't come into the bathroom," Ashley Thorsteinson said.
The teenager said she didn't call 911 because she wasn't aware the call could be traced.
"I didn't think that I'd be able to tell them and explain where it was and everything because I was, like, shaking, and by then, I was crying and everything," she said.
In both burglaries, the girls called their parents first, who were working at the time, but Johnson said it would have been better for them to call police.
"In this instance, it would have been nice for them to call 9-1-1 immediately, which would have gotten a quicker police response," he said.
The alarm for the third burglary came in about 15 minutes after the second call.
It appears the thief was after property and not interested in harming anyone, Johnson said.
The thief took a laptop computer from one of the homes, police said.
"There was actually a neighbour at the second location that had a video camera, surveillance camera, set up that actually captured the vehicle driving away and also captured the person … going up to the front door," Johnson said.
As a result, police have a very good description of the burglar. They described him as a short, stocky male in his 20s, driving a black Chevy truck.