Their night out was a glamorous surprise: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle dazzled as they made an unannounced appearance at the Bob Marley: One Love movie premiere in Kingston, Jamaica, on January 23.
Hours later — as photos of the royal couple walking the red carpet made headlines — an organized band of thieves burglarized an estate just five minutes away from the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s $14.65 million, 7.4-acre compound back in Montecito, California.
The news rattled the couple, a source exclusively tells In Touch, especially after the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office issued a warning to the royals: In recent days, there had been a rash of burglaries in the Montecito area, and the couple’s mansion could be hit next. Criminals are “targeting safes” and breaking in between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Officer Rachel Zick further cautioned that “in these burglaries, criminals target unoccupied residences that back up to open spaces such as golf courses, as well as creeks, streams or the ocean.”
When Harry, 39, and Meghan, 42, left the royal family behind four years ago, they brought historical valuables with them. “Harry has multiple pieces of Princess Diana‘s jewelry, some things from his late grandmother and more irreplaceable items,” says the source. “Also, who knows what royal secrets he has locked away? Back in England, palace security was unrivaled — but Harry and Meghan don’t have that level of protection anymore.”
But they still employ a top notch (and very expensive) security team that reportedly includes bodyguards and safety experts who’ve worked for political leaders like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as well as the late Michael Jackson. “Harry’s focus has always been on keeping his wife and children [Archie, 4, and Lilibet, 2] safe,” says the source, but the new crimes have him wondering “if they should up security even more.”
Their home has been breached before. In 2022, police records reveal, six security alert calls were placed from Harry and Meghan’s compound in 14 months — including two reports of intruders.
A trespasser breached the royals property on their wedding anniversary, and cops answered an intruder alert around the same time the couple flew to Britain for the late queen’s Platinum Jubilee. “What’s terrifying is that these incidents occurred in broad daylight,” an insider previously told In Touch. “And barely six months after the Sussexes moved in, officers caught a man trespassing on Christmas Eve — and he returned two days later. Despite the millions they spend on security, says the source, Harry and Meghan “know that some criminals can’t be deterred and it’s only a matter of time before someone strikes again.”