By Shawn Chitnis

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (CBS4) – A homeowner woke up to find sentimental jewelry from her family missing just two days after an open house allowed several people in and out of the home.

“It’s just very sad, it’s a sad situation,” said Astrid Carlson. “My mom just past it away, and I got some special jewelry from her.”

open house theft 10vo frame 120 Home Sellers Victim Of Jewelry Theft During Open House

(credit: CBS)

Carlson listed the home with her husband on Friday and planned an open house with her agent for Saturday. She estimates 20 people came by that day but her family wasn’t home at the time. The agent had an assistant with them to help manage all the visitors coming into the home.

“It’s a give way to give exposure to the house and have the neighbors stop by,” said Carlson. “It’s kind of a positive experience, you’re showing your home, and you’re happy about it.”

open house theft 10vo frame 418 Home Sellers Victim Of Jewelry Theft During Open House

(credit: CBS)

The jewelry taken was from her family as well as her husband’s parents, she estimates there were 15 to 20 pieces of jewelry taken from the house. Each item was stored inside boxes or dressers inside the master bedroom. Carlson had just received the heirlooms and said they weren’t used to having such expensive items inside the home.

“It just slipped my mind,” she said. “We were receiving jewelry that we never had before.”

The Colorado Association of Realtors says open houses are a growing trend in the state’s hot housing market. They give specific guidance to their realtors about how to prepare for these events. Not only do they recommend securing any valuables or removing them from a house, they encourage at least two people to be there at the event to watch all levels of a home.

open house theft 10vo frame 508 Home Sellers Victim Of Jewelry Theft During Open House

(credit: CBS)

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office says this is a common crime so they advise all homeowners to be extra careful before holding an open house.

Carlson showed CBS4 what her bedroom looked like on Monday morning after she realized all the items were gone.

“They took all my rings, I had about eight rings,” she said. “I had gold chains in here, they left the silver ones.”

open house theft 10vo frame 568 Home Sellers Victim Of Jewelry Theft During Open House

(credit: CBS)

More common than stolen jewelry, prescription medications are taken from homes during open houses, according to the Colorado Association of Realtors. They association says it cautions anyone to think about the benefits of an open house before going that route to sell a listing. The current market has increased the demand for those events but serious buyers will make an appointment for a home they want, a spokesperson said.

Carlson is still getting interest in her home and showing the property but now says she does not think an open house is worth it.

“It gets me angry, they’re violating your place,” she said. “You do have to protect your valuables, especially sentimental jewelry, you’re never going to recover it.”

Shawn Chitnis reports for CBS4 News at 10 on weekends and CBS4 News at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. throughout the week. Email him story ideas at smchitnis@cbs.com and connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.

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