A house cleaner was arrested last week after she was connected to several home burglaries at residences where she also worked.
On Jan. 11 and again on Jan. 12, a 36-year-old Mountain View resident stated she had gone to bed at her home on the 1900 block of Montecito Avenue and when she woke up in the morning, personal items as well as cash had been stolen from her home, despite the fact that her door had been locked.
The victim stated that the only other person who had access to her home was her house cleaner, 39-year-old Sandra Cuoto. During the course of their investigation, detectives learned that Cuoto was responsible for thefts at other homes she had cleaned. In those thefts, she stole personal items, jewelry and cash, among other items. The investigations into all of these cases are still ongoing.
Cuoto was arrested Saturday on suspicion of burglary, impersonation and violation of her probation.
We have reason to believe there may be other victims. If Sandra Cuoto was employed as your house cleaner, and you were the victim of a burglary or theft, please call Det. Andrew Wong at 650-903-6389.
Here are some tips to help ensure that those employed to work in and around your home are certified in their jobs and licensed and insured:
1. Obtain referrals and recommendations from friends and family who have had the same housecleaner(s) for a long period of time.
2. Make sure your housecleaners are bonded and insured.
3. Make sure your housecleaners are licensed.
4. Check housecleaners on review sites such as Yelp and Angie’s List. Be careful when choosing new businesses and/or businesses with few reviews.
5. Conduct a phone interview with the housecleaner/company before inviting them into your home. Make sure to ask the housecleaners how long they have been in business and ask for recommendations.
6. Compare the cost of the service to what others charge. If the price is substantially lower, be wary. This is one industry in which the lowest bid is not necessarily the best bid.
7. Whether using a housecleaning service or an individual, find out which cleaner(s) will be cleaning your home. Make sure to find out if it will be the same cleaner(s) every time, if any additional cleaners will come, or if there will be different cleaner(s) every time.
8. Make sure to lock up your valuables, especially jewelry, cash and credit cards.
9. Consider getting an electronic lock with one-time use codes and give that code to the housecleaner. Change it after every visit. Be careful when giving a key to your housecleaner or telling them where the spare keys are kept.
10. Be concerned if you hire a cleaning company and the house cleaner wants you to make out a check to an individual. Also, be wary if you hire an individual and the house cleaner asks you to make out a check to someone else.