The nationally publicized burglary of Houston socialite Theresa Roemer's three-story closet took another stranger-than-fiction turn on August 15 when the alleged thief sent several items to the Houston Press that he said he had stolen, asserting they are fake.
Roemer hotly disputes the allegation. "He's already violated me and robbed me," she says. "We know the truth. Because the burglary went viral, he can't sell the stuff. And now he wants to hold me for ransom."
Roemer had estimated that the burglar took between $800,000 and $1 million worth of handbags, jewelry and watches from her home during the burglary earlier this month. He also took a locket containing a strand of hair from her son, who was killed in a car crash eight years ago, and other family mementos.
"We know the truth," Theresa Roemer says. "Because the burglary went viral, he can't sell the stuff."
Using a device to scramble the sound of his voice, the alleged thief told the Press that he had contacted Roemer, asking for $500,000 to return the items and "not expose her to the news." When Roemer instead contacted Montgomery County authorities, the alleged burglar sent several items to the publication, along with the locket.
In an interview with CultureMap, Roemer confirms the locket appears to be hers, along with other items. But, she notes, he didn't send the publication any of the high-priced stuff pilfered from her closet.
Roemer says when the alleged thief called her on August 6, five days after the burglary, she thought it was prank. To test his veracity, she told him to send a photograph of an $80,000 diamond ring, which contains a personal inscription, along with the front page of the day's newspaper, which he did.
"It freaked me out," she says.
She says she never pretended that everything in her closet was high-priced, although she has proof of sale from Neiman Marcus and other retailers for most items. "It's like any person's closet. You mix and match," Roemer says.
"In my closet, I have a Donna Karan dress next to one from the Gap. My stylist had some vintage jewelry there from back in the '60s. Not everything is a million-dollar design."
While Montgomery County authorities are continuing the investigation, Roemer says she is trying to get on with her life. She is debuting a new clothing line in Houston on September 25 at Fashion Woodlands, a New York-style runway show.
"I just wish this would go away," Roemer says. "Why are they so vindictive? To be so vindictive is just evil."