Exterior Home Security

7 Surprising Items Burglars Want to Steal from You

An estimated 3.7 million burglaries occur every year in the United States, each resulting in an average loss of more than $2,000. You can minimize your loss, should you become the victim of a break-in, by learning which household items are most likely to be stolen. You already know that burglars target valuables such as electronics, cash and jewelry, but you probably didn’t know that they are also interested in the contents of your fridge or bathroom storage unit. Click through to discover some very surprising items that burglars want to steal from you.
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If you leave expensive name-brand sneakers lying on the floor by your bed, or even in your closet, a burglar is likely to grab them on his way through your house. Other most-wanted clothing items include fur coats, designer dresses, handbags and even baby clothes. These items are easy to sell online or at resale shops and very difficult to trace.

Related: 10 Things a Burglar Doesn’t Want You to Know



Thieves won’t break in to your house just to steal that bottle of world-class Pinot you’ve been saving for just the right occasion, but they’ll grab it anyway, along with full or partially full bottles of hard liquor. Liquor is expensive and yet small and easy for burglars to carry, making it a coveted item for criminals who are underage, have alcohol addictions, or just want to enjoy a post-heist toast.

Related: 11 Weird Ways to Use Wine

Prescription Drugs


The black market for prescription drugs is huge, and one of the first places a thief will look for them is your bathroom medicine cabinet. Most burglars won’t take the time to read the labels, they’ll just grab all the bottles and run. Even allergy medications are likely to be stolen, with the hope that someone, somewhere, will buy them.

Related: 10 Ways to Burglar-Proof Your Home for Under $100



If the hook where you hang your keys is empty after a burglary, don’t be surprised. Burglars have been known to steal car keys, house keys and any other keys they can find, and then sell them to other thieves who will return to steal your car or let themselves back into your house while you’re gone. Find an inconspicuous place to store your keys—never the entryway or mudroom—and always change your door locks after a break-in.

Related: 8 Organizers for the Little Stuff You Always Lose

Art and Collectibles


Your art collection might not rival that of the Louvre, but thieves will still grab paintings from walls in the hopes of reselling them. Other collectable items, such as vases, sculptures and small antiques are also at risk. Criminals won’t take your family photos, but they will take anything that looks like an original work of art. Keeping a photo inventory of your art and collectibles may help you recover some of your stolen items.

Related: 11 Ways You May Be Inviting Burglars Into Your Home

Your Identity


Savvy thieves steal old tax returns, credit card bills, contracts, and bank statements, looking for social security numbers and account information that can be used to open new lines of credit and hijack your bank account. To thwart thieves, it’s a good idea to shred old bills and other documents that contain identifying information. In addition, rent a safety deposit box at your local bank to keep sensitive papers secure. 

Related: 7 Documents You’re Probably Forgetting to Shred



Among the most surprising things that burglars steal are food and other everyday items. Whether they’re hungry or not, that block of cheese in your fridge could disappear, along with energy drinks, packaged snack foods, cigarettes and even laundry detergent. High-end perfumes, like Chanel No. 5, are often taken during burglaries, as well as fancy bottles of lotion and body wash.

Related: 8 Ways to Make It Look Like You’re Home When You’re Not

Keep Out


A few minor mistakes might be leaving your house vulnerable to theft. But don’t worry, you don’t need an expensive home-security system for protection. Simple adjustments, like having your neighbor pick up your mail while you’re away, and affordable purchases, such as motion-sensor lights, will keep burglars away and give you peace of mind. However, installing one of the best home security systems, such as one from Vivint or ADT, can add extra protection to your home while also acting as a deterrent for would-be burglars.