RICHMOND, Va. -- Crystal Gambardella says it all happened so fast Wednesday: a shadow at the door, the sound of her dogs barking.
She says she ran downstairs and found her Fan home was a wreck and her car was stolen.
The vehicle was later found near Chamberlayne Gardens.
"It was around 10:30 when someone opened my bedroom door,” Gambardella said. “I was out of it after working the night shift. I saw the shadow and he shut the door right away."
The nurse said she knew something was wrong when her dogs started barking, and then: "I came downstairs and the whole room was trashed."
Her flat-screen TV was found in a back alley in the Fan behind her Floyd Avenue home. Her belongings were scattered on the floor throughout the house.
Gambardella said it wasn't too hard to figure out how the crooks got in.
"They broke a window out, then took the screen off and shoved it in," she said.
But the suspects left clues behind, as Crime Insider sources say the window was covered with finger prints.
The thieves also stole a laptop and Gambardella's car.
Family members were able to hone in on the laptop through a locator service, and then the car was found close by.
Despite the intrusion, Gambardella says she feels fortunate, saying material things can be replaced. She says her story should serve as a reminder to keep a watchful eye out for each other.
"You can never be too careful about protecting your house or your things," said Gambardella.
Gambardella did get her car back Thursday night. She said the thieves also left a sweatshirt and Chick-Fil-A receipt in the car.
Those two things should definitely help investigators track the suspects.
Police are asking anyone with information on this incident to call Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000.