Self Storage seems innocent enough. When you run out of space, you rent a unit from a Universal Storage Group location, move your belongings into the space of your choice, lock the door, and go home, comfortable in the knowledge that your possessions are safe, secure, and conveniently out of your house. For the most part that’s true, but did anyone ever tell you about the insane things that sometimes happen those other self-storage facilities? If you want to hear about everything from a meth lab to a chop shop being run out of a storage unit, read on.
Somewhere in a self-storage unit near you …
Looking for spare parts?
A man in Hartford, Connecticut was using two storage units for his “business.” No, I don’t mean his auto supply business; I mean his chop shop. He was dismantling stolen cars and selling the parts or using them to build new cars. This operation was discovered when a picture of a stolen car was posted on Facebook. A good Samaritan who saw the post contacted the victim and explained that he had seen the car in a storage unit. When the Sheriff opened the unit, he found several cars, along with parts and engines. An 18-year old man was later arrested. How’s that for creative vehicle storage?
Need a place to live?
We all know that a storage unit is not for storing “people.” It’s meant to be a home away from home for your belongings, not for you. You can visit your stuff, but you can’t live with it. Unfortunately, the homeless population doesn’t see it that way. Not only did a group of them break into a unit, but they weren’t happy with the chilly temperatures. When firefighters responded to an early-morning fire in a storage unit, they found that it was caused by a heating source that was placed too close to combustible items. Twenty-eight units were affected, causing a $240,000 loss in structural damage and stored items. Fortunately, there were no injuries.
Is your basement meth lab exhausting your space?
Remember Walter White’s storage unit meth lab in Breaking Bad? Well, it seems that he doesn’t have the exclusive on that idea. A man and his uncle bid $80 on an abandoned storage unit in California and ended up with boxes full of meth lab equipment. Another man was arrested in Florida when passersby noted that he was acting strangely. The owners of the property happened to be allowing local law enforcement to use the facility to train their drug-sniffing dogs. When one of the dogs became suspicious, they ran an activity log. The odd tenant at this 5 x 5 unit accessed it twelve times in one week and was always accompanied by a “lookout.” I don’t think he was checking on his vintage Barbie collection.That was the end of his meth lab and his freedom.
Is your pet part of an ugly custody battle?
During a divorce settlement, arguing over custody of pets is becoming commonplace. Pets are not children, but they are part of the family. One cold-blooded fellow took things too far. He trapped a beloved cat in a bin and stored it in a unit. The bin had no air holes, no food, and no water. There are no details as to how long the cat was kept in these conditions; I can only imagine. Not only is this an extreme way to deal with relationship issues, but it is outright animal cruelty. I hope this was reported to local police, and this heartless person was punished appropriately.
Do you know a missing person?
Mother’s instinctively protect their children, but this is over the edge. For two years, a worried California family searched for a missing relative who had mysteriously disappeared without a trace. His body was eventually discovered in a Southern California self storage unit in a freezer. He was murdered in cold blood by his ex-girlfriend’s son. The girlfriend aided her son in hiding the body in the freezer. Can you say, “Bad Moms”?
Need a place to hide a dead body?
By this time, I’m sure you’re feeling pretty creepy, but I have one more spine-chilling story. Most storage facilities try to avoid auctioning the contents of a tenant’s unit; but, if the monthly rent isn’t paid within a certain time period, the facility is within their legal rights to do so. The owners of a self storage facility in Florida contacted a family to inform them that they would be auctioning off the items in their unit due to unpaid bills. The family explained that they couldn’t do that because their grandmother’s body was still inside! When the unit was opened, the police found a blue painted coffin with the skeletal remains of a woman who had been dead approximately 17 years. The body had been properly prepared for burial, but she was never buried. It seems Page 2 of Google isn’t the only place to hide a dead body.
Don’t Worry…You and Your Belongings are Safe
A certain segment of the population thinks self storage is for more than their Star Wars collection. Luckily, with advances in technology, most facilities incorporate state-of-the-art security that will keep even Hannibal Lecter from being able to break in.