A Battle Creek, Mich., couple has been arrested on suspicion of burglarizing at least 11 self-storage facilities in three Michigan counties. Eric James Morgan, 38, and Terri Lorene Vantuinen, 36, have been charged with conducting a criminal enterprise and conspiracy to conduct a criminal enterprise. State troopers executed a search warrant at the couple’s home on May 15, recovering suspected stolen items, including guns, ammunition, jewelry, furniture, electronics, tools and sports equipment, worth several hundred thousand dollars, according to the source.
Investigators believe the couple and a third, unidentified suspect not yet in custody broke into storage units over several months, cutting door locks and replacing them with new ones after removing items. Two of the suspects were caught breaking into units at a property on April 19 but weren’t arrested at the time. Restrictions on placing suspects in county jails due to the coronavirus pandemic made it impossible, said Detective Sgt. Bryan Fuller of the Michigan State Police.
Alleged burglaries connected to Morgan and Vantuinen occurred in Allegan, Barry and Calhoun Counties at the following self-storage properties:
- Clear Lake Storage, Dowling
- Gun Lake Discount Storage, Wayland
- Hastings Storage, Hastings
- Lake Doster Mini Storage, Plainwell
- Lakeridge Self Storage, Middleville
- M&M Storage, Shelbyville
- Mid Lakes Mini Storage, Delton
- Riverfront Storage and Sons, Hastings
- Tires 2000 Storage Units, Middleville
- Wayland South Self Storage, Wayland
- West Point Corner Storage, Battle Creek
Morgan and Vantuinen were arrested on May 15 after a burglary was committed at a storage facility in Hastings. They’re being held in a Barry County jail. Property recovered the same day at the couple’s home filled two trucks and a trailer, and is being inventoried by state troopers, the source reported.
Police believe there may be many more break-ins that have gone undetected since the suspects replaced cut locks. It’s possible facility managers haven’t noticed the lock change, and tenants won’t discover their units have been breached until they next try to access their space, according to detective Aaron Smith of the Battle Creek Police Department.
State police have asked anyone who discovers a replacement lock on his unit to call authorities before attempting to open the unit.
Battle Creek Enquirer, Battle Creek Couple Arrested for Storage Unit Break-Ins in 3 Counties