An October 15 posting on NBC-affiliate website www.kjrh.com in Tulsa, Oklahoma, police surveillance has begun at self storage unit companies throughout the city, as Tulsa police burglary detectives work to catch thieves who have broken into 100 mini-storage units between 10 businesses in the past three weeks, stealing over $100,000 in property thus far.
Sergeant Brandon Watkins heads TPD’s Burglary Unit, and said that these burglars strike at night and have avoided being filmed by surveillance cameras at the entrance of the businesses – so far.
“The burglars are going in, usually hitting the back of the business, cutting a hole in the fence, driving a cart right through it and taking their time burglarizing these mini-storage units,” said Watkins.
These thieves have stolen everything from guns to motorcycles. Sergeant Watkins believes they cut the locks off the units until they find something they deem valuable. These criminals have opened as many as 42 units in one night, escaping under the cloak of night without being noticed by anyone.
Watkins continued, “A lot of these mini-storage places are in industrial areas, or they are in areas that not residential. So, unless somebody is driving by and paying attention in the dark of night, they are not going to see them.”
Sergeant Watkins offered the following advice for those seeking to safely store their possessions: Choose a storage facility that has heavy duty mental fencing all the way around, as opposed to a chain link or wooden fence. Make sure the storage facility is well lit, and has cameras down the aisles, not just at the entrance.
Watkins added “My guess is that they are figuring out which ones have cameras and which ones don’t. And they are avoiding the cameras. They are not going in the gates. They are making their own back doors to these facilities.”
To date, none of the reported stolen property has shown up in local pawn shops. Police suspect that the property is being sold at flea markets and/or garage sales, or, perhaps, it is being taken out of town (to be sold.)