SURREY - When Mike Sanyshyn arrived at his storage unit, he noticed something was not right.

“I was opening the unit, and there was stuff stuck against the door,” he told CTV News in an interview. And then he noticed some things were missing.

He then realized eight of his instruments, four violins and four guitars, were missing. “It’s just kind of a shocker,” Sanyshyn said.

He and his wife live in a condo so they stored the instruments in the unit to maximize space. Sanyshyn said he’d go to the storage unit every week.

But it’s how the alleged thieves got inside that’s even more of a surprise.

“There’s a gap right above the gated area of the storage which is indoors,” he said. “Somebody was either propped up or boosted up and went inside the unit.”

The gap, he said is apparently for ventilation, and while it’s not that large, he believes someone may have been able to fit through, and slide the instruments back out.

“I guess who ever was in there, was standing on stuff and then just kind of had to push themselves back out through the slats.”

Sanyshyn estimates the value of the eight instruments at between $3,000 and $5,000, but there is sentimental meaning to many.

He’s had one of the missing violins since he was 15 years old.

Another is a “12 string acoustic guitar which was a gift from a great old time fiddle friend of mine that recently passed away,” said Sanyshyn. That guitar was made by the friend’s grandfather.

The storage unit is in Cloverdale and has cameras only at the main entrance and exit. Sanyshyn says they’ve since moved to a new unit, where there’s no gap, but hopes someone may spot his instruments and turn them in.

“It’s a gated locking system so you need a code to access the building.”

He believes someone either saw what he had inside, or picked the lock after looking through the gap.

He hopes his instruments will be returned, and thinks they may turn up at a pawn shop, music store or online.

If anyone spots them, he’s asking that they contact Surrey RCMP.

Const. Richard Wright with Surrey RCMP told CTV News Vancouver they received a report of the stolen instruments. 

"Investigators checked for CCTV, but were informed by the management that there is no CCTV coverage near that storage locker," Wright said.