CAPE ELIZABETH — A town resident learned the easy way recently that leaving your door unlocked might bring unexpected, but not entirely undesirable, results.

Town police were called to a home off Shore Road, near Fort Williams Park, last week to take a report on a possible burglary.

The resident had departed for work around 9 a.m. on June 19, leaving an exterior door unlocked to allow an appliance repair person to enter the house, said Police Chief Paul Fenton.

When the resident returned home around 7 p.m., he noticed that window blinds had been raised, sofa throws had been folded, bed sheets had been replaced with fresh linens and a load of laundry had been washed and folded, Fenton said.

While police were taking the report, a representative of a cleaning company stopped at the house to explain what happened, Fenton said.

She told police that a crew had been scheduled to clean another house in the neighborhood that had been leased as a short-term rental, such as those offered on the websites Airbnb and HomeAway. Instead, the crew entered and cleaned the wrong house.


The woman apologized and assured the resident that nothing had been taken, Fenton said.

The police report didn’t include the name of the cleaning company, Fenton said, and he declined to name the resident to protect his identity and property.

“This incident illustrates why it’s important to always lock your home when you’re not there, no matter what, and make sure your house number is well displayed,” Fenton said, noting that a lack of proper house numbers is a significant public safety issue in town.

The incident mirrors a similar event reported last month in Marlborough, Massachusetts, where a man returned to a thoroughly clean home, complete with decorative origami roses left on toilet paper rolls. The man in that case suspected a cleaning company went to the wrong house as well.

In another case in Cape Elizabeth, police detained an intoxicated Falmouth man last January after he tried to enter a home he thought was his own. Police later determined that the man had taken the wrong Lyft ride following a night of drinking in the Old Port. The man had passed out and was mistakenly dropped off in the neighborhood of a Cape Elizabeth resident who also had called for a Lyft ride from the Old Port.

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