A thief broke into a Hell's Kitchen apartment through a window Monday afternoon, and the resident's cat cam caught the burglary on tape.
The video shows the thief climbing up scaffolding to get to the window — which was closed but had a broken lock — and stealing an iPad and laptop. Police say he also took jewelry and a digital camera.
In an interview with NBC 4 New York Tuesday, the victim said she'd installed the home camera to watch her cats while she was at work.
"People thought I was crazy to spend $200 on a camera, plus another $100 a year to record the video so I could watch my cats," she said. "But it really unexpectedly came in handy."
The video shows the burglar climb in through the window and acknowledge one of the cats, which watches him warily from its perch on a pillow.
He then rummages through the victim's desk, touching her laptop, picking up cords and stuffing items in his pockets as he looks around the room. The robber, in a black hat and jean jacket, pops in and out of the view of the camera as the cat watches him from a rug — first alone, then with the company of another feline.
The robber stuffs his stolen items in a black bag and eventually leaves through the front door after shutting the window he climbed through.
The woman, who asked not to be named, said she was terrified watching the video at work. Soon after, she received a notification that an app on her iPad had been disabled.
"I knew someone had to have my iPad, because I keep it in my apartment," she said. "I had to watch it a couple of times and be like, this guy is in my apartment and looking at my stuff."
The woman said the camera system has proved invaluable: "If I didn't have this, there's no way I would know when it happened, how he came in, what was touched, what was compromised."
She has filed a police report and turned over the video to police. Anyone who recognizes the man in the video is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.