A young Dartmouth mother had a terrifying encounter Tuesday night in her home after surprising a brazen thief in her kitchen.

The neighbourhood in the area of Dartmouth's Woodlawn Heights — bounded by Main Street, Woodlawn Road and Mount Edwards Road — has been the target of 11 break-ins.

The 25-year-old woman, who has a 10-month-old baby, asked not to be named.

She said she's still afraid after what happened to her Tuesday night.

"I was in the bathroom and I heard a banging on the door. I finished, washed my hands in the bathroom and I came out and there was somebody in the kitchen, in the front of our kitchen there," she said.

"He had my purse in his hands and I screamed and ran back to my son's room, called 911."

Police were only minutes away. When they arrived, the thief was gone.  

"I don't know who it is and I don't know if he got what he wanted, or if he didn't get what he wanted. Like the police said, he probably isn't going to come back, which is good to know. They were really helpful. But it's scary especially since I'm home alone with my son so it was really scary," she said.

Police said this thief likes to escape out the back door of the homes he targets. A few neighbours said they thought they heard the squealing of tires of a possible getaway vehicle right at the intersection near the home where the break-in occurred.

Const. Pierre Bourdages, spokesperson for Halifax Regional Police, said a suspect is knocking door to door to find homes that are empty.

"If someone comes at your door, asking for someone you don't know or does not reside at the house, please call police and give us the information right away. It might be the information or the people we're looking for," he said.

"They're very similar M.O. I can't say for sure they're the same individual doing them. However given the similarity we do believe they're related to one another."

Meanwhile, news of the break-in spree is permeating the neighbourhood.

"Everybody's nervous. Everybody I've talked to, they're very nervous because you just don't feel safe in your home. It is upsetting. Very upsetting," said Sue Sachko, who lives in the area.

Sachko said her family is worried about her.

"My granddaughter called me and told me lock all doors, lock all windows," she said.

Police agree that's the best precaution to take.

"Make sure your doors are locked, your windows are locked as well. Come in, lock your door. It doesn't hurt," said Bourdages.