msnbc.com news services
updated 6/20/2011 9:10:13 AM ET 2011-06-20T13:10:13

A prolific cat burglar has stolen hundreds of precious possessions from homes near San Francisco.

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But police are staying off the case — the burglar really is a cat.

Dusty, a 5-year-old feline from San Mateo, has taken hundreds of items during his nearly nightly heists.

Owner Jean Chu told the San Francisco Chronicle he has pilfered gloves, towels, shoes and more since she adopted him from the Humane Society.

"I noticed a piece of latex glove on the bed one morning and told my husband he should do a better job cleaning up his work stuff," Jean Chu, whose husband is an artist, told the Chronicle. "He said, 'It wasn't me. I think it was the cat.' "

Dusty has a special love for swimsuits.

"He stole my bikini," Kelly McLellan, who lives a few doors up the street, said to the Chronicle. "He did it in two trips. He was very focused on keeping the ensemble. When it went missing I wasn't worried, though. I knew where to go."

Experts say Dusty's predatory instincts have gone astray, leaving him hunting for people's stuff.

The cat's thieving has made him a minor celebrity.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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