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A couple caught an armed stranger in their home. He apologized and paid them $200 for breaking their window.

A shattered glass window in 2018. (Jennifer A Smith/Getty Images)
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As the owners of a Santa Fe, N.M., home opened their front door on Sunday after a few days away, they were hit with the stench of rotting food. Dirty dishes were soaking in the sink and empty beer bottles had been tossed in the trash, an incident report says. Something was amiss.

Then, they heard a noise coming from the back of the house. When the husband opened a bedroom door, he found a tall, young man standing in the room, he later told investigators. Next to him was a duffle bag and an assault weapon. The man didn’t threaten the couple. Nothing had been stolen.

“[He] was extremely embarrassed and apologetic about the situation,” the husband told the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, according to an incident report obtained by The Washington Post.

As the man walked toward the front door accompanied by the husband, he dropped $200 on a chair in the living room, the report says. It was reimbursement for a window he broke to get into the house, he told the husband. He then ran off and headed east.

The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office has not yet identified or found the peculiar burglar. The cash was sent to a crime lab for analysis. If found, the man could face charges of aggravated burglary, criminal damage of property and larceny, the report says.

The homeowners described him as about 6 feet tall with brown hair, saying he looked to be between 20 and 30 years old. He wore jeans, a gray Carhartt jacket and a hat. He did not appear to be mentally ill, the husband told investigators. When he asked the burglar why he was there, he said “his family was killed in East Texas and he was running from somebody,” the report says.

The husband told investigators the burglar might have hitchhiked into town, since he said his car broke down about 100 miles away. The man smashed a window into the homeowners’ office using a metal tool, investigators said. He then allegedly cooked food, slept in one of the bedrooms and bathed in the master bathroom. Deputies noted in the report that none of the couple’s items had been stolen.

“The jewelry, which [the wife] had left on the counter, near the sink, had not been touched,” the report says.

Besides the kitchen, the only part of the home in disarray, according to the report, was the bed the man probably slept in, which was “a mess,” with pillows scattered on the floor. A deputy also found a towel left on a couch.

The man left little evidence in the house, the report says. There was no blood around the broken window, no hairs on the bed and no prints on the tool or beer bottles.

Shoe prints were found in the snow. Law enforcement searched the area but could not find anyone who met the man’s description. A similar incident happened the day before, on Jan. 29, the report says. An RV in the area had been broken into.

Despite leaving $200 for the homeowners to fix their window, by investigators’ tally, the man still owed the couple $15 — $10 for the beers and $5 for their shrimp.

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