ORLANDO, Fla. - Homes in Orange County being treated for pests became the victim of a different kind of invader. Two Orange County homeowners say their homes were burglarized while they were being fumigated for termites.
"I thought they were crazy to go into the house when there’s poison in it," said Cheryl, one of the victims. She asked FOX 35 not to show her face or full name.
Cheryl says her house was tented at the beginning of the week. Soon after, she got a call from the company saying someone had sliced it open. She says she could tell somebody got into her place through a window – but not what they took.
"They went through the bedroom, and I wasn’t allowed until a day later to get back in. I saw all of my clothes on the floor – just a mess," she explained.
That happened on Fairview Avenue. The other house hit just a few minutes away on Neuse Avenue. Both are in neighborhoods off of Fairbanks Ave. near Winter Park.
"Deadly skull and cross bones… that’s pretty universal meaning do not enter," said Greg Goetz, the owner of G.A.G. Pest Control.
Goetz was not involved in the fumigations but is giving us a glimpse into the process – and the dangers for anyone who enters a tented home.
"They’ve entered the dwelling with an unknown quantity of vikane gas, which is sulphuryl fluoride – it’s odorless, colorless, and tasteless," Goetz said.
The gas is deadly. So fumigators also fill the house with tear gas to keep people from entering. Professionals wear a self-contained breathing apparatus – like firefighters – to go in.
But experts say you can also get that gear online.
Criminals taking advantage of the fact that no one is home.
"I was shaking. It’s hard to come home knowing somebody was in your home looking through your possessions," Cheryl said.
It’s still unclear whether the burglar had on any protective gear or whether they got sick from entering.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.