Suspected storage unit swipers sought

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published February 27, 2019


SOUTHFIELD — Police are looking into a string of recent thefts from storage units.

According to police reports, during the week of Feb. 4-10, there were six separate incidents involving storage units in the city.

The first one occurred between 1:20 p.m. Feb. 4 and 9:45 a.m. Feb. 5 in a storage unit at an apartment complex in the 29000 block of Franklin Hills Drive. A woman told police that someone had forced entry into her storage locker and rummaged through her belongings, but nothing was taken.

The next day, another resident reported a storage unit break-in at the same apartment complex, this time between 10 and 10:30 a.m. A woman said she heard a commotion in the basement of her apartment building at around 10:30 a.m. Feb. 5.

The woman said she went into the basement and saw two men near her storage unit door. The first man was described as a tall, heavyset black man with a mustache. He was wearing a gray sweatshirt. The second suspect is described as a short, thin-built man with a full beard; his race is unknown.

Police said that when the woman questioned the men about why they were in the basement, both men left the building through separate doors. The first suspect got into a silver- or beige-colored car and left the parking lot, the victim told police.

During the interaction, the woman observed damage to her storage room door.

While police were investigating those incidents, they discovered that a metal latch had been broken off a third storage unit. Again, the storage unit had been rummaged through, but nothing was taken.     
Several other storage unit break-ins were reported at a different apartment complex, police said.

Between midnight and 2:30 a.m. Feb. 5, a victim told police, someone broke off the lock on his storage unit at his apartment complex in the 29000 block of Pointe O Woods Place.

Missing from the unit were several items, including several pairs of blue jeans, Adidas shoes and an assortment of baseball hats.

At around 10:01 a.m. Feb. 8, police were dispatched to the same apartment complex on Pointe O Woods to investigate several storage unit break-ins.

Police said in the report that the units were poorly constructed and were made of plywood, and they do not connect to the ceiling or floor, making for easy access.

During the thefts, police said, the locks were removed or the thieves jumped over the walls.

Several units were damaged and had chipped wood surrounding the padlock area. Several pairs of shoes and a smart TV were stolen.

On Feb. 6, a man reported that sometime between Feb. 4 and Feb. 6, his storage unit at an apartment complex in the 25000 block of Shiawassee Road was broken into.

The man told police that the gate to the unit had been broken off, and a power washer, a miter saw and a paint sprayer were stolen from the unit.

Acting Chief Nick Loussia said there are multiple ways to deter theft in storage units.

In addition to always locking the unit with a quality lock, Loussia said people should consider installing an alarm on the unit and placing more expensive items in the rear of the unit.

“Do not place very expensive items or items that have a significant sentimental value in a storage unit,” Loussia said in an email.

Residents should also place items in nondescript containers, and they should always report suspicious activity to police, Loussia said.

The incidents remain under investigation, Loussia said.