WINCHESTER (CBS) – A Winchester mother got a frightening surprise when she came home from shopping, opened her closet door to hang some new clothes, and found a strange man staring back at her.

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“She was only out about an hour,” says Winchester Police Detective Lt. Dan O’Connell. “She walked in. She saw the door was ajar. She kind of didn’t think anything of it, went upstairs, actually had some clothes to put away that she had just purchased. She put them in the closet, and to her surprise there was someone in the closet.”

The woman says they both ran out of the house. The robber was behind her, apologizing as he fled.

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“He said he was very sorry,” says O’Connell. “A lot of times, these break-ins are individuals trying to avoid people.”

He managed to grab a pair of $500 earrings before disappearing. It’s the second time that woman has been robbed in a month.

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Police say during that same period, thieves broke into a total of 15 Winchester homes. They say they’re working with police in other towns north of Boston where there has been a rash of similar cases.