Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi were inside their Montecito mansion when it was burglarized, but the thief still managed to get in and out undetected … so they’ve turned the place into a fortress.

TMZ broke the story … the break-in went down on July 4, and now sources with direct knowledge of the investigation tell us the couple was home. Luckily, they weren’t harmed — it’s unclear if they had any contact with the suspect or suspects, who made off with jewelry.

We’re told the point of entry for the burglary was a back door, and no one was captured on surveillance video — however, Ellen and Portia are making sure that never happens again.

Our sources say they made a slew of security improvements immediately after the break-in — which include hiring a new security company, installing laser sensors and cameras around the entire property and hiring armed patrol guards.

As we first reported … Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office said the crooks made off with some high-value jewelry and watches, and appear to have targeted Ellen’s place due to her celeb status.

It’s unclear if the break-in’s related to other celeb burglaries in the greater L.A. area. The Sheriff’s Office says it’s working with other law enforcement agencies to investigate.

We’ve reached out to Ellen’s reps … so far, no word back.

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