Just how secure are self storage units?
Published Wednesday, August 7, 2013 6:00AM PDT
Many self storage facilities boast top-notch security, but a Vancouver man learned a tough lesson after the storage locker he thought was under video surveillance and secure was broken into.
Saul Zachs recently received a call from StorageMart informing him that the lock on his storage unit was broken. When Zachs arrived at the facility to check on his belongings, he discovered that the 10 coffee vending machines he was planning to sell had been stolen. They were worth about $10,000.
With each machine weighing 27 kilograms, Zachs estimates it would have taken awhile for the thieves to haul them away, but when Zachs requested to look at the video surveillance he was informed that there was no video of the theft.
Zachs is upset because StorageMart’s promotional brochure states, “when it comes to your possessions, only the best protection will do. Rest assured, whatever you store will be safe with us."
The CEO of StorageMart says the South Vancouver location has a password-controlled security gate, guards patrolling the site after hours and no fewer than 12 security cameras, but it still wasn’t enough.
“This particular thief seemed to know exactly where the cameras were and was smart enough to go through and keep himself hidden," said Mike Burnam, StorageMart CEO. “The person has done this before; at least that's what the police are telling us."
Burnam says his company and its competitors in the area have been targeted several times by thieves over the past six months.
Police are investigating the theft of Zachs’ coffee machines and the other break-ins, but have no suspects and have made no arrests so far. StorageMart has provided detectives with a list of people who had access to its facility after hours, but without security video, Zach is not confident the thieves will be caught.
The Better Business Bureau recommends you find out if a storage facility offers any insurance before you rent out a space. If the company does not offer insurance, like StorageMart, check your homeowner's policy to see if you have coverage. If you don't have coverage then you can buy third party insurance.
Vancouver police also recommend you ask the facility if they have video surveillance, how many cameras they have and if the building offers 24 hour security.