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Thief takes everything but the cat in Facebook home burglary

Popular Facebook game
Popular Facebook gamePlayfish

Here's a lesson that all of you Facebook game players should heed: If you're going to have a fancy virtual house, you'd better install a fancy virtual home alarm system.

Authorities in Italy are investigating a home burglary that took place within the popular Facebook game "Pet Society."

"Pet Society" – a social pet simulation game from Playfish – lets players decorate virtual houses and shop for stylish virtual clothes for their virtual pets.

But Paola Letizia of Palermo, Italy, told police that a hacker stripped her home within the game taking everything but the blue-colored cat that lived there.

According to British news site Metro, the not-a-cat-burglar swiped the virtual furniture, virtual clothes and virtual paintings that 44-year-old Letizia had spiffed up her seven-room home with. And those virtual items cost her real money – somewhere around $140. (Proof that game micropayments really do add up.)

"I don’t think it matters that the flat only exists in Facebook," Letizia told the Italian media. "It is real to me and I have suffered a real loss."

Playfish does not appear to offer home alarm systems for their "Pet Society" homes. In their place, we'd like to recommend that social network game players try installing a little thing called a strong password. Apparently the hacker was able to access Letizia's Facebook account by cracking her password.

Italy's "postal police" are investigating the crime as an 'aggravated entry' into Letizia's e-mail and Facebook account. The offence carries a penalty of up to five years in a real prison.

Winda Benedetti writes the Citizen Gamer column for msnbc.com. You can follow her tweets about games and other things right here on Twitter .