WALLINGFORD, Conn. -- A taste for cold beer and hot food put two men in jail after a homeowner caught them cooking a rib roast in her kitchen.
The woman, who asked not to be named, said she came home shortly before midnight Tuesday and was surprised to find the lights on inside and the family dog barking outside.
"This guy was standing in my kitchen. I said, 'Who are you?' and he said, 'Hi, we're burglars,' " she said.
Frozen food was piled on the kitchen table, the woman said, along with her father's dusty old telescope. A second man came into the room a moment later.
The pair never threatened to harm the woman, she said, though they said they would rip the phone off the wall if she tried to call the police.
Instead, the besotted burglars -- "they were drunk, really drunk," she said -- steadily drank beer while offering to return stolen goods they had stashed outside in return for amnesty.
"They said, 'If we go and bring the stuff back, will you tell [the police] that nothing happened?' " she said.
The pair grew increasingly dismayed as she ignored their bargaining, the woman said. After about half an hour, the woman's sister arrived. "She said, 'Who are these people,' and I said, 'Hi, these are the burglars.' "
One of the men put his hand on the telephone and stopped the sister from calling the police. She promptly left the house -- probably the scariest moment for the homeowner, who said she wondered if the intruders would retaliate with violence.
Instead, the duo became more downcast. "They were, like, 'Oh, darn, she's gone to call the cops,' and I said, 'Yep.' " The two vainly repeated their offer, and finally left through the front door.
"I could hear them in the neighbors' yards, talking and yelling," the woman said. She immediately called police, who also were alerted by the sister at the police station less than a quarter-mile away.
The woman said that officers found the men hiding atop a neighbor's garage.
Jeffrey Kowalski, 31, of Wallingford, and Larry Levasseur, 29, of Meriden, were charged with second-degree burglary, sixth-degree larceny and third-degree criminal mischief. They were arraigned in Meriden Superior Court yesterday.