KDPS investigates rash of break-ins at storage rental facility
Kalamazoo Police say dozens of self-storage units at a Kalamazoo storage rental facility have been broken into over a month.
The owners of Five Star Store It on Stadium Drive say tens of thousand of dollars of people's personal items have been stolen and one woman, who rents a storage unit at the facility, says it's been broken into several times recently.
"You can't get the sentimental stuff back. Lots of stuff has been in the family for years," Gary Dill Jr., Kalamazoo, said.
Dill said his sword collection his grandfather gave him as a child, along with an extensive gun collection, was swiped from his storage unit. He estimates the stolen weapons were worth $20,000.
"They literally went through the whole storage unit and turned everything upside down," Dill said.
The stolen weapons prompted KDPS detectives to return to Five Star Store it on Wednesday. Detectives have been investigating for a month.
Close to 50 storage units have been hit on consecutive weekends in March, but so far, no suspects.
"I was talking to a woman the other day who said she was in between apartments and everything she owned was in the storage unit while she was staying with friends, and now everything is gone," KDPS Sgt. Bryan Martin said.
"They're stealing anything from dishes, clothes, all the way up to microwaves, to other household items," Matthew Alward, the district manager for Five Star Store It, said.
Alward remains baffled by the thefts.
"They're not even using bolt cutters on the key locks, they're just plain ripping them off," Alward said.
Investigators say until recently, the business lacked security cameras, and for a short while the front gate was broken and was left open at night.
Martin says the suspects likely drove up to the storage units and then stole the items.
"If they would have had the gate up, I can't say it would have prevented this from happening. They might have forced the gate or found another way in , but yes, it has been easier access for them," Martin said..
That fact doesn't set well with some renters.
"A storage company like this, there should be security overnight, there should have been cameras, it could have been taken care of better," said Jessica Decker.
Alward says he's planning to install additional security cameras and install new fencing around the property. He's also offering refunds to customers and a $500 reward for information leading to an arrest.
Five Star Store It is a rental storage facility with 34 storage centers in the U.S. including four locations in Kalamazoo.