WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – A family did not realize they had an unexpected Christmas guest until a man who had been in their attic for days emerged wearing their clothes, police said.
Stanley Carter surrendered Friday after police took a dog to search the home in Plains Township, a suburb of Wilkes-Barre about 100 miles north of Philadelphia. He was charged with several counts of burglary, theft, receiving stolen property and criminal trespass.
"When he came down from the attic, he was wearing my daughter's pants and my sweat shirt and sneakers," homeowner Stacy Ferrance said. "From what I gather, he was helping himself to my home, eating my food and stealing my clothes."
Police said the 21-year-old Carter had been staying with his friends, who are Ferrance's neighbors in a duplex. But when they told him to leave, he apparently accessed the shared attic through a trap door in a bedroom ceiling.
The friends said Carter went missing on Dec. 19 and they filed a missing person report a few days before Christmas.
Ferrance said she had heard noises but thought they were caused by her three children. She notified police on Christmas Day when cash, a laptop computer and an iPod disappeared, then called police again the next day when she found footprints in her bedroom closet, where the attic trap door is located.
Carter kept a list of everything he took, said Plains Township police Officer Michael Smith.
"When we were going through the inventory of what he did take, we found a note labeled 'Stanley's Christmas List' of all the items he had removed from the residence and donated to himself," Smith said.
Carter was in jail Sunday at the Luzerne County Correctional Facility with a preliminary hearing set for Jan. 5. It was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer.