Three self-storage facilities in Bellevue, Wash., have had 63 units broken into in the past six weeks, according to local police. Detectives are investigating incidents at Bellevue You-Store-It at 12863 Northup Way and two Public Storage locations—one at 12385 Northup Way and the other at 13640 Bel Red Road. Items taken from storage units include credit cards, jewelry, personal documents and weapons, the source reported.
In several instances, thieves have cut through perimeter fencing to gain access to storage properties, according to police. Detectives are reviewing security footage, though the burglars have largely evaded video cameras, Officer Seth Tyler told the source.
"We are treating this as a trend, a crime trend," Tyler said. "People make the assumption that a storage unit is safe, that it is secure. Nothing is 100 percent secure. You just have to realize that storage units can be broken into just as someone's home can be broken into."
Steve Canova, a tenant at the Public Storage Northup facility, had his wife’s wedding ring and other jewelry taken as well as 30 years of photo negatives. "[We] felt violated because this was the place we picked that we believed was secure, and we thought our stuff would be safe at," Canova told the source. "We believed that the steel doors and the locks we were given would secure our property, and that's why we made the decision to put stuff there."
You-Store-It has increased its patrols of the property, an unidentified employee told the source.
"It's buyer beware when you are looking at different storage facilities,” Tyler said. “We would recommend that you inquire on surveillance systems, access control, if they have onsite security guards. This is definitely a pattern that's concerning to us. We're committed to get these folks identified and into custody."
Based in Glendale, Calif., Public Storage is a real estate investment trust with interests in 2,310 self-storage facilities comprising approximately 151 million net rentable square feet in 38 states. Operating under the Shurgard brand name, the company also has 218 facilities in seven European countries, with approximately 12 million net rentable square feet.