HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Police are searching for a bold thief who broke into several homes in an upscale Westchester County neighborhood last week while homeowners were sleeping.

WCBS 880’s Sean Adams: The Crook is Either Wreckless, Dangerous, Bold, Desperate, or All of the Above

After residents settled in for the night a brazen burglar struck seven homes in one Hastings-on-Hudson neighborhood, reports CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez.

“I got up and I just screamed, I said ‘get out of here,’ and he came downstairs so fast,” said one victim who didn’t wish to be identified.

The 78-year-old victim said she was sleeping in her second-story bedroom on School Street at around 3:30 a.m. Friday when she heard the intruder breaking in through the dining room window.

“Took my pocketbook and got the money and just threw it on the rug, and then headed upstairs to the back bedroom,” she said. “He opened up the drawers – got all the boxes out and took what he wanted. I was laying there, saying to myself, thinking, ‘if it is someone, just get up and scream.’”

Her screams scared the burglar away, but not before he struck another home on School Street, not to mention three homes on Hillside Avenue and two on Prince Street.

The cluster of burglaries in the Hastings-on-Hudson neighborhood has a striking similarity to a string of burglaries in Yonkers. There, a burglar also broke into homes in the darkness while people were home.

Hastings-on-Hudson and Yonkers police are now working together to see if the burglaries are linked.

“It very well could be; there are a lot of similarities,” Hastings-on-Hudson Police Lt. David Dosin said. “You never want to rule anything out.”

Residents said they are being especially cautious.

“Make sure you lock your doors, lock your windows,” one neighbor said.

“Just to be more aware,” said another resident.

The victim told CBS 2 that she feels fortunate.

“As long as they didn’t harm me or do damage…I got over it fast,” she said.

She is, however, improving her home security – determined not to give the crook a second chance.

As a precaution, Hastings-on-Hudson police have increased their night patrols.

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Hazel Sanchez