BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A woman said her storage unit was broken into and alleged the management did nothing to prevent the crime.
Personal treasures from storage units are an increasingly easy target according to crime prevention specialists with the Bakersfield Police Department and Kern County Sheriff's Office.
Mary Roche got the storage unit four months ago during a personal hardship. Roche was about to be homeless and decided to get the unit to store possessions until she could get back on her feet.
Roche went to the unit last week to get a few items out, but when she got there, she knew something was wrong when she saw a different lock on the door.
"Somebody had robbed me. All my valuable items were taken. Stuff I can never get back, stuff I was going to give to my children and grand babies one day," said Roche.
Roche had everything from furniture and pictures, to jewelry and silver stolen.
Roche said the management was no help after the crime and said they seemed more interested in getting their rent than securing the facility.
Roche contacted the Bakersfield Police Department and filed a report.
The storage facility has surveillance cameras, but so far no arrest have been made.
Security experts say storage units theft is a growing problem, but it is a crime that rarely gets reported.
It is estimated that 11 million Americans pay self-storage facilities monthly fees to store their belongings.
Crime prevention specialists say the problem with temporary storage facilities is that they aren't built to store valuable items.
Most facilities don't have the proper security. Twenty-four hour-a-day access makes them an easy target for people to steal items.
Most facilities have an access code to enter, however that code can easily fall into the wrong hands, according to crime prevention specialists.
"It seems that it must be pretty easy for a thief to get his hands on the code to enter the building. When I asked the manager about who has access to the codes, he thought I was accusing him and he told me to get a lawyer," said Roche.
The Better Business Bureau says consumers need to do their homework before they decided on a specific storage facility.
Consumers should ask, "What type of security measures do they have? How are the access codes managed? Who has access? Does the facility have cameras 24-hours-a-day?"
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