Kathleen stood with the woman’s hair in one hand and her shirt in the other, but the woman was gone. “I was so surprised. I was not able to contain her.”
The conflict began when Kathleen drove up to her house on Hunsaker Street in Oceanside. It was after 3:00 o’clock on December 7, 2012.
As she slowed in front of her modest one-story home, Kathleen noticed something about the house wasn’t right. “The screen that was on my bedroom window was gone. It was on the ground.” And the window was opened wider than she remembered. “I had left it open; it had been fairly warm that day.” Then she noticed that a metal gasoline can was taken from another place and moved over to that corner of her house.
Kathleen parked in her garage as usual and hurried out to investigate. As she passed behind her car to go to the front of her home, she heard her front door slam. She hurried to the front of the house and saw a woman coming down the front-porch steps.
Kathleen was stunned. “I was in a real sense of shock and disbelief.” She asked the woman what she was doing in her house. “She said she had not been in my house.” The stranger was carrying a load of “stuff” in her arms. Kathleen again demanded to know what the stranger was doing in her home. And Kathleen tried to stop the woman by blocking her path. But the tall, thin blonde continued to walk forward. The stranger tried to pass to the side, so Kathleen put her arms out while she demanded answers.
The thin blonde maneuvered around Kathleen and again denied being in the house. Then she tripped. The things she had been carrying spilled out of her arms as she fell to the ground. Kathleen tried to keep the woman down on the ground by taking hold of her hair. But the stranger struggled and managed to pick up some of the items she dropped. Then Kathleen grabbed at the woman’s shirt and tried to restrain her.
Next thing she knew, Kathleen was standing there with a clump of hair in one hand and a shirt in the other hand. The blonde stranger was gone.
Kathleen inventoried all the clothing and jewelry missing from her home and estimated the value of her stolen property between $40,000 and $50,000.
About a week later, on December 13, Oceanside police were notified they had a fingerprint match, but it was from a different burglary. In October, a couple who lived on South Ditmar Street reported that someone had entered their home through an open window and stolen some property. A police evidence technician was able to lift a good fingerprint from a glass jar that had been emptied of coins. That fingerprint was put into the Automated Fingerprint Identification System and came up with a match.
Detective Karla Williams was notified that the fingerprint belonged to Sherri Lynn Difrancesco; it was her right ring finger. Detective Williams looked at the photograph of Sherri Lynn and realized that suspect matched the description of the suspected burglar who left some of her hair and all of her shirt on Hunsaker Street.
It was after midnight, the early morning hours of December 15, when sheriff’s deputy Aaron Boer arrested a woman in the parking lot of Harrah’s Rincon Casino. The woman had methamphetamine and syringes in her car, and the deputy said he noticed “fresh injection marks” on the thin blonde. Difrancesco was booked into Vista jail for drug possession, being under the influence, and possession of paraphernalia.
Late that same night, a bail bondsman went to the Vista jail to bail out Difrancesco. Rogelio works for Bail Mart. He said he already knew Difrancesco: “I had dealt with her in the past.” But Rogelio knew this client as Sherri Kingston (she also has a criminal record under that name). When Rogelio bailed out Sherri late that Saturday night, she gave him a bag of jewelry as “a promise to pay.” The jewelry was in a “property bag” from the jail, a clear plastic bag labeled with the name of the person in custody. Rogelio didn’t want jewelry; he wanted cash, but he agreed to hold on to the promise-to-pay bag until Sherri could show up with $500 cash.
Under the name Sherri Lynn Kingston, the 44-year-old woman has four active criminal cases listed in the sheriff’s records. Two days later, on December 17, Oceanside police learned that their burglary suspect was expected to show up at Bail Mart on El Camino Real; she was expected to bring cash to pick up the bag of jewelry.
Police were waiting nearby while Sherri finished her business at the bail-bond office. When she came out, detective Karla Williams noticed her flashy jewelry. “She was wearing diamond earrings and a diamond ring,” the detective recalled. “So, I took custody of those items.” After the detective arrested the suspect, she searched her car and recovered more “containers of jewelry.”
Burglary victim Kathleen was able to identify some of the jewelry as items that were taken from her home.
Superior-court judge Harry Elias ordered Sherri to face burglary and drug charges on February 13. She pleaded not guilty to all charges and is next expected in court on April 2, 2013.