NEW PORT RICHEY — A teen knocked on an 85-year-old woman's door on Green Street Wednesday afternoon. Arielle Buff said her boyfriend was chasing her, authorities said. She asked to come inside and use the woman's phone.
The woman let her in.
Minutes later — after using the bathroom and making a telephone call — Buff, 18, asked to leave through the back door so the crazed boyfriend wouldn't see her, New Port Richey police said.
That's when the woman noticed her wallet and credit cards were missing — as well as two watches and her eyeglasses, a report states.
A neighbor told police he saw Buff go into a nearby house on Astor Drive. An officer knocked and asked Buff if she knew why she was being questioned.
"Because I stole the old lady's stuff," she said, a report states.
"She took advantage of the good nature of this 85-year-old lady," said Capt. Jeffrey Harrington of the New Port Richey Police Department. "She tried to be a good neighbor and give her a safe place."
Buff was arrested and charged with burglary of an occupied dwelling. She is being held at the Pasco County jail in lieu of $10,000 bail.
Harrington said officers got the call about the theft at 3:40 p.m. and by 5:44 p.m., Buff was en route to jail and the woman was in the process of getting her things back. Harrington said much of that was because of the neighbor "who saw something that didn't look right" and spoke up.
He mentioned two other recent arrests made with the help of the community: a man suspected of breaking into at least 20 houses and another man squatting at a snowbird's home.
When citizens watch out for and report things "out of the ordinary and suspicious, we are going to be much more successful as a community at stopping crime," Harrington said.