PHX homeowners horrified by brazen burglars

Posted at 6:16 PM, Feb 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-11 21:56:10-05

A Phoenix homeowner got a creepy and disgusting surprise when he walked in on a burglar who decided to make himself at home.

But there might be comfort in numbers since he wasn't the only victim.

Phoenix police are investigating two separate cases, involving two different criminals, practically moving into people’s houses.

The bad guys took the saying, “My home is your home” seriously - going to people’s closets, and even refrigerators, to see what they might want.

The first suspect was spotted by neighbors who asked ABC15 not to identify them.

"I had never seen him in the neighborhood before," the victim, whose home is located at the bottom of a mountain near 32nd Street and State Route 51, said.

Neighbors told ABC15 they often see hikers just a few yards away from their backyard.

"How do you tell between the hiker and someone with bad intent?”

But Christopher Milmine was no hiker. He made his way off the trail and into their neighbor's home.

Police say Milmine went through the cabinets, made himself some food, and even tried on some clothes.

The homeowner walked in and found the suspect wearing his pants. He forced Milmine to give them back while they waited for police.

"I think that's brazen. I couldn't do that even if I were invited into the house," said the neighbor.

The second suspect was caught near Interstate 10 and Warner Road.

Mark Sprengel says he knew something was wrong when he walked inside his home.

"I noticed food was left out and crumbs were on the floor."

When he went into the bedroom… "I noticed sleeping in my bed -- an intruder."

Cory Brown was fast asleep without a care in the world.

"I screamed right after I grabbed the bat. It was loud enough to wake the dead."

Sprengel tried keeping his intruder there until police arrived, but Brown bolted, only to be arrested down the road.

"Just because you are going through tough times. It doesn't give you the right do abuse people's belongings."

Police say Brown stole money from the homeowner's son's piggy bank and also ran off with his father's ring from Vietnam.

Along with other heirlooms, the ring has been recovered, but some of the other items are still missing.