In The Sims the burglar, known as "Some Sneaky Sim", was male. In The Sims 2 and The Sims 3, burglars can be either male or female.
Burglars will steal possessions of any size, often choosing the most valuable items of the lot. Burglars can be arrested by the police, if they are summoned quickly enough. Additionally, the only way to ensure the police arrive in time to catch the burglar is to install a burglar alarm.[confirmation needed] If the lot doesn't have an alarm, Sims can still call the police, who may not arrive in time to prevent the burglar from escaping with the Sim's possessions.
In The Sims, burglaries are fairly rare and will most likely appear if the selected family is wealthy or has expensive objects in their home. The burglar will usually appear at around 3:00 AM, and even appear as late as 9:00 AM if the family is sleeping, and his arrival will be announced by a few bars of intentionally frightening music. The burglar cannot be interacted with in any way, except by the police, and was specifically designed to rob houses while the entire household is asleep. If the player tries to wake up a Sim while there is a burglar, it is unlikely that the Sim will wake up, get to a telephone, and call the police in time to catch him. Even if the player does this as soon as the burglar appears, it is not certain that the Sim will be able to call the police in time. This is most likely because the game has programmed burglars to only appear when a Sim is asleep. This can further be proven during rare occasions when a Sim is awake while one arrives on the lot; Sims cannot directly stop the burglar as there are no available interactions, and they will not react to one at all.
Burglars will steal the closest and most expensive objects they can find. Installing a burglar alarm in the home will not prevent a burglar from entering the lot; however, if one happens to do so, the police will arrive shortly after the alarm goes off to arrest him, where he will surrender peacefully. The police officer will thank the family and will pay them a §1000 reward. Despite this, the burglar may have already taken one or two items by the time the police officer approaches him. These items will be taken as evidence and not returned, but the family will be reimbursed for them. Sometimes, a family will be reimbursed for an item that the burglar did not manage to steal.
The Sims 2
In The Sims 2, a burglar who enters a lot will "case" the house and lot, looking for the most expensive items. A burglar can steal aspiration reward objects, and will consider the number of aspiration reward points needed to buy the reward as its value. Their arrival is announced by a "stealthy" tune.
If the burglar trips an alarm, this may give the police time to respond before the burglar can steal anything. Unlike The Sims, Sims will panic when they witness a burglar entering a lot. They can use a phone to call the police, but cannot interact with the burglar. Even if the burglar is captured before taking anything, all Sims on the lot will also receive the "Burglar!" memory, unless they have received it previously.
Some Sims, particularly Fortune Sims, often have "getting something stolen" as a fear. If someone in the household encounters the Burglar, they will often react with fright. When the police arrive, the officer will attempt to apprehend the burglar by fighting them; if successful, the burglar will surrender, but if the officer is defeated, the burglar will escape. If the police officer and the burglar cannot get into a position that allows them to fight, the burglar will flee with their loot. Depending on how long it takes for the officer to reach the burglar, the burglar may have time to steal an object after the police cruiser arrives.
With Open for Business, Sims with a Silver or Gold Robotics Badge can use the Robot Crafting Station to craft SentryBots, which are designed to patrol a house and shock any burglars that may enter with an electric current, causing them to run off the lot. However, if this happens after the burglar has stolen something, it will still be necessary to call the police.
Something that is useful to have in mind is that, on rare occasions, the player can immediately go to buy mode or build mode if the burglar has just entered the lot and the game has not picked up on it. This can be very helpful if it can be managed, but it is not something that should be counted on. In most cases, there will be a short pause right before the burglar arrives. This can also help determine when the burglar is about to arrive.
NPC burglars may appear on community lots, and in Open for Business, may visit an owned business. While they will likely be dressed as burglars, they may be there to shop, not steal.
For around 24 game hours after a burglary attempt, Sims may interrupt what they are doing to sigh, or even cry, about it. This can happen even if the burglar was captured and nothing was stolen. If this autonomous reaction is pushed on a sleeping Sim with a full Energy bar, the Sim will wake up.
- If a house has a back door, a burglar may enter through it.
- A car with an alarm installed can serve as an outdoor alarm. It will go off if a burglar comes within 6 or 7 tiles of the car. Since a car will often be one of the more expensive objects on a lot, a burglar may come within range of the alarm as they "case" the lot. If a car alarm goes off before the burglar has entered the house, it will not wake Sims sleeping in the house, and any alarms in the house will not sound, even if the burglar enters the house before being stopped by the police.
- Beginning with Nightlife, after a burglar has entered the lot, the burglar will appear in the Relationships panel for all Sims in the family. They will all be furious with the burglar, though they will not become enemies immediately. As with other Sims in the Relationships panel, it is possible to call the burglar on the phone and raise the relationship.
- Werewolves can fight the burglar like a cop. They will always win.
- Bigfoot will immediately scare the burglar away. If the burglar's bladder level is low, he/she will experience bladder failure.
- The butler will immediately call the police whenever a burglar is seen.
- The range of a burglar alarm in The Sims 2 is one "room", and the alarm may not be placed outdoors. An alarm may be moved outside by constructing a small room surrounded by walls, placing the alarm inside it, and then demolishing all its walls except the one that the alarm is attached to, or by using the moveobjects cheat. The alarm will then cover the entire outdoor area, limited only by outdoor fences.
Pre-made burglars in The Sims 2
Pre-made burglars in The Sims Life Stories
The Sims 3
In The Sims 3, burglars can be interacted with while on the job, which was impossible in previous games, though the options are very limited. Sims now have the power to stop them if they have the Brave trait or have the Can Apprehend Burglar hidden trait, which gives them the option to "Fight" against the burglar. Winning against the burglar will force them to return the stolen items to the family inventory before leaving. Also, a pet with the aggressive trait can chase the burglar away. If the police were called, they may reward the Sim with some money for helping them catch the burglar. Their burglars’ arrival is announced with a spooky tune.
Burglaries are more common if a household possesses a large house with lots of expensive objects. They may also occur in vacation homes[TS3:WA] and penthouses.[TS3:LN] Although rare, burglars may sometimes appear when no Sims are at home. Burglars may enter through back doors, if there is one, and can pass through locked doors.
Like The Sims 2, if the police were called, the officer and the burglar will fight. If the officer wins, the burglar will be arrested; otherwise the burglar will run off with their loot. Burglars will flee empty-handed if they are forced to fight the police before they steal any item on the lot. Even if they win the fight, they will still flee, leaving possessions untouched.
Sims will panic at the sight of a burglar on the lot. Unlike previous games, burglars will freak out when a burglar alarm goes off and become stunned, giving the police more time to arrive.
Playable Sims can also become burglars if they choose to become a thief through the Criminal career track, though this does not allow them to rob other houses. However, it is possible for any Sim, regardless of career track, to steal items if they have the Kleptomaniac trait, which allows a Sim to take three items from a residential or community lot that he/she is visiting at night.
Like The Sims 2, it is possible to befriend burglars and turn them into playable Sims by becoming acquainted with them. The easiest way to do this is by inviting over another NPC’s "household". Another possible way to do this is for a Sim to help them escape after being handcuffed by the police. Usually after making an arrest, police will tell the burglar to wait outside the police car while they check around the house. During this time, an option called "Set Free" will be available on the burglar, which will grant the Sim a positive relationship boost with the burglar. Sometimes, burglars may visit the town park in their distinctive uniform alongside other NPCs, where they can be interacted with freely for a period of time before they leave and become unavailable again. Another way is through the "Fight" interaction also available to Sims with the Brave trait or the Can Apprehend Burglar hidden trait. Afterwards, the burglar will become acquainted with the Sim allowing the player to call the burglar to have a chat or invite over to their house on days when they are not working as burglars. They can then ask them to move or marry into the household once they have built a high enough relationship. Burglars who have become playable Sims possess a hidden trait called "Burglar" which gives them the special interaction to Sneak when moving. Children who are descended from Burglars can inherit this trait.
There are many ways to counter a burglar in The Sims 3:
- Calling the police.
- Installing a burglar alarm.
- Having the Brave trait or Can Apprehend Burglar hidden trait and commanding Sims to fight the burglar.
- Having the Light Sleeper trait as they will immediately wake up and call the police.
- Lucky Sims with the "Feeling Lucky" moodlet will never be robbed.
- Mummies will scare burglars and cause them to retreat.
- Household butlers will autonomously fight a burglar if they possess the Brave trait.[TS3:LN]
- Having a pet with either Aggressive or Loyal trait can help scare the burglar away.[TS3:P]
- Bonehilda can fight the burglar.[TS3:SN]
- Using the
alwaysAllowBuildBuy oncheat will allow players to enter the Build / Buy Modes when a burglar is on the lot.
- Home owners can set the burglar free while the police are inspecting the house. Afterward, the cop will give the Sim a stern warning to not set burglars free.
- A Sim with the Good or Coward traits will refuse to fight the burglar, even if they have the Can Apprehend Burglar or Brave traits.
- Telling a pet to "Guard the House" increases the chance of a burglar appearing by 10% every 45 minutes.[TS3:P]
- In The Sims 3, some players may have problems with police being able to catch burglars, with police either saying the burglar has fled even though the burglar is still in the house or the police arriving and leaving straight away saying the burglar has fled. This is usually a minor inconvenience as the burglar will more than likely not steal anything if the player has a burglar alarm. There is no known fix for this.
- The reason that burglars are absent from The Sims 4 is rumored to be that they triggered players with anxiety, mainly due to the music that played when they appeared, which a large majority of players found scary. 
- Several fans have stated that the burglar music in The Sims frightened them as children and still frighten them today.