Here's a word to the wise: If your house is on wheels, don't leave it unattended.
At least that's the lesson Malinda Crichton learned recently when someone purloined her 13-foot-tall tiny home.
The partially constructed abode had been parked on a trailer outside her West Sacramento apartment complex Monday night, but by Tuesday morning, the $40,000 home had vanished.
"I tried not to freak out," Crichton said.
She thought her 3-ton DIY project might have been towed away by her apartment landlord, but she learned that wasn't the case.
Crichton then reached out to a local towing company for answers, but they too said they knew nothing about her wayward domicile.
It was then that Crichton came to realize that her tiny home had been stolen.
Fortunately, though, the guilty party didn't get very far before they ditched the house.
A friend of Crichton's said he had spotted the home in the parking lot of a Mexican supermarket, about a mile away from her apartment, according to Sgt. Roger Kinney, a spokesman for the West Sacramento Police Department.
"They took the tiny home for a tiny ride," Kinney said.
Although the thieves broke a lock on the trailer hitch, they didn't take anything from inside the home. Police remain puzzled as to why the home was taken to begin with. Detectives plan to review surveillance camera footage in hopes of identifying the house-jackers.
The residence is the first tiny home ever to be stolen in the city, according to Kinney.
Crichton has been building the tiny home since 2013 and hopes to make it livable by the end of the year.
She is a singer and musician and plans to travel the U.S. with her French Maltese, Tilou, in her tiny home.
The West Sacramento native worked with a designer to come up with plans for the house, which features 10-foot-high ceilings, two lofts and will eventually hold a Murphy bed.
Over the last three years, Crichton has been slowly constructing walls, and selecting materials to make her home completely chemical free, because she is sensitive to paints and carpets, she said. The home is also equipped with specialized wiring for people sensitive to electromagnetic radiation, according to the tiny-home owner.
The housing project has been a labor of love for Crichton.
"I am just really glad I got it back," she said.