Housekeepers steal thousands from homes in Danville and Walnut Creek

Oakland residents thought to have sold loot at swap meets

Police are currently investigating grand thefts from a homes in Danville and Walnut Creek where two housekeepers stole between $50,000-$75,000 worth of jewelry. Oakland residents Claudia and Dennise Barajas confessed to the thefts and are awaiting word from the district attorney.

The victim, a Danville resident who wished to remain anonymous, reported the theft to Danville Police on Tuesday, June 21 after she noticed a large amount of jewelry missing from a chest in her home office. She later realized a large box of Swarovski crystals was also missing.

"I never had anything like this happen, I did not have my jewelry anywhere that anybody who would break in would think of," the Danville resident said. "(The Barajas) worked for my daughter-in-law in Walnut Creek as well. When I told her my jewelry was gone, and she checked and hers was too. It was pretty obvious that the only people who were in both our houses were the cleaners."

Danville Police exercise caution when confronting maids or housekeepers about theft, said Lt. Jeff Moule, adding that Claudia, 36, and Dennise, 35, confessed to the thefts on June 22.

"We went to the maids' residents and recovered some of the jewelry but not very much. A lot of it had been sold at swap meets already," he said.

The Danville woman and her husband went to an Oakland swap meet and several pawn shops looking for the missing jewelry to no avail. She believes the Barajas sold the stolen goods to one dealer who is now long gone.

"For four years (Claudia) was completely honest, maybe they became desperate," said the Danville woman, who guessed that the housekeepers stole the jewelry on June 7, when she was at the doctor's office. "I think what happened was one day they were up here vacuuming and they got curious and opened the drawers and they found the gold mine and took advantage of it."

Claudia was booked and released from the Martinez Detention Facility while Dennise was booked and released from the Danville Police Department due to health concerns, said Sgt. Allan Shields with the Danville Police. Shields said he does not think the women are flight risks.

While this upset the Danville woman, who isn't sure the Barajas were booked under their real names and was told that the two might "walk away," Shields said the police are working to gather all the information they can before sending the case to the district attorney.

"We're going to be sending to the DA's office this week for review, charges are pending," he said, adding that police cannot detain suspects for more than 48 hours without filing charges. "Because they were in two separate jurisdictions, we wanted to make sure that we had everything we needed for the case so we waited till this week."

The Danville victim said it would a long time before she hired another housekeeper and advised other residents to make sure their housekeepers are licensed and bonded.

Sgt. Shields said he hasn't heard about any similar thefts from the Barajas' other clients.


Like this comment
Posted by Alex
a resident of Blackhawk
on Jun 29, 2011 at 8:59 am

Did they ask the INS if they had something on them?

Like this comment
Posted by snomis
a resident of Danville
on Jun 29, 2011 at 9:45 am

Everyone wants cheap prices so they don't take the time to check with INS. However, if you do want to check with INS or Social Security there is a requirement that you must hire them before you do the check. This is to prevent any "illegal random investigations". After you hire them you can get their permission to do this check. Normally, they do not agree to this and you don't end up hiring them. After this process, you just hire them illegally. This is one of the flukes in our INS and SS Laws that many do not understand. It is a negative for most people to deal with so people don't bother trying to find out the info.

Like this comment
Posted by Victim
a resident of Danville
on Jun 29, 2011 at 2:15 pm

snomis: Not necessarily cheap. I paid $35 per hour per person. And you are right, I didn't bother. It was easier this way. This was an expensive, heart breaking lesson to learn.

Like this comment
Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Jun 30, 2011 at 8:24 am

Good reason to use an insured agency -- and ask what background checks they do on their employees. They are required to do some checking of docs that demonstrate the applicant has the legal right to work in this country -- although it's a pretty leaky process as forged docs are generally available on the sly. Good background checks go into other matters from public records, at least. Nothing is foolproof (hence the insurance), but you can adjust the odds in your favor. A secure place for your truly valuables is also a balancing of safety and inconvenience or expense.

As for "heart-breaking," I suppose if we're taking about great-gramma's heirloom brooch, but otherwise it's just stuff.

Like this comment
Posted by Diane michaels
a resident of Danville
on Jul 1, 2011 at 1:49 am

The social security # check is a JOKE! A worker turned in a SS # as 123-45-6789. Employer called to verify such a suspicious number and was told the prospective employee "had shown a # so accept it! Kill the dream act ---save America

Like this comment
Posted by Citizen Paine
a resident of Danville
on Jul 1, 2011 at 6:44 am

Diane: Would you link your source, please?


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Posted by Rita damaio
a resident of Walnut Creek
on Jul 1, 2011 at 11:59 am

I agree---kill the dream act---the semi riot of hatred by Mexicans at the soccer game in LA last week is telling. Immigrants USED to desire assimilation and love for this--their new country. No more.

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Posted by cardinal
a resident of Diablo
on Jul 1, 2011 at 2:19 pm

@Rita: I have just a few Qs for you.

How many Dream Act kids do you suppose were in that "riot?"

Do you ever wonder how many years of your own life you are losing to all that self-imposed fear and hostility?

And why must people trade-in their heritage to live here? Did you trade-in yours?

Like this comment
Posted by Ro
a resident of Danville
on Jul 2, 2011 at 8:43 am

Anyone know what company these housekeepers worked for?

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Posted by Jake
a resident of Alamo
on Jul 3, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Here are a few questions for "cardinal":
Is disagreeing with illegal acts an expression of self imposed fear and hatred?
What stopped you from calling her a "racist"?
Are rioting and vandalism one's heritage?
How deep must one bury one's head in the sand to scape reality so one can be at peace?

Once you answer these, I'll have some more!

Like this comment
Posted by cardinal
a resident of Diablo
on Jul 3, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Here you go, jakie:

No, but her attempt to heap abuse on a very large and diverse group of people, based on a thoroughly irrelevant, separate and isolated incident is evidence of badly misplaced logic, born of fear and sadly jingoistic hatred.

I didn't call her a racist because I have no evidence that she is. She might be, or she might be Mother flippin' Teresa on that score. Why do you ask -- is she?

The heritage comment pretty obviously referred-to her "assimilation" claim, which was dubious on the facts and unnecessary, regardless. Try to keep up.

I will leave any conclusions about heads buried in dark places to your remarkable spinal flexibility. I Can tell you that the view from the moral high ground is excellent.

Have a happy 4th, citizen.

Like this comment
Posted by Beatriz
a resident of Danville
on Jul 6, 2011 at 11:47 am

How did racism, dream act and unruly conduct at a soccer match become the topic? (that's pretty funny unruly conduct at a soccer match) anyway did anyone answer Ro's question?

Did these ladies work for a company or referred privately by a friend?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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