How to Keep Your Storage Unit Safe

A third generation contractor, Jim Cook of Glendora is a self-employed builder.

"I started out sweeping floors on construction sites as a kid," he said.

Craftsmanship runs in his blood, he said, which is why his storage unit being burglarized really bothered him.

"The hardest thing for me was a lot of tools that I had gotten from both of my grandfathers," he said.

When Cook needed more space for his growing business in 2015, he turned to Storage Etc. in Carson.

He took photos of the equipment in the storage unit, including saws, air compressors and nail guns, he said.

"Thirty years of tools," he said.

A few weeks later, about $30,000 of equipment had been stolen, he said.

He didn't feel the company was being very helpful.

"They just acted like they couldn't care less," he said. "'Why are you bothering us with your problem?'"

Cook filed a police report, and the I-Team learned it's the fifth report of theft filed in six months for Storage Etc.

If a company knows of a problem, it's required to fix it, according to consumer attorney Stu Talley.

"A self-storage business agrees to provide at least a minimal level of security," he said.

Although what security measures the business took are unknown in this case, Talley said storage companies may sometimes have some responsibility.

"They can't guarantee that things aren't going to be stolen from your facility but if they are negligent in any way, with respect to the kinds of security that they have at the location, they could potentially be on the hook."

Another protection for self-storage customers is adding their units to their renters or homeowners insurance policy to protect against theft.

A manager at Storage Etc. would not comment about the thefts, but police told the I-Team there is an active investigation.

Storage Etc. gave Cook $2,500 as part of a protection plan they sold him when he signed up — but the money doesn't replace what he's lost, which includes trust in a business he paid to safeguard the tools he uses to make a living.

"You're entrusting them to keep it safe," he said. "It's more about just someone being held accountable."

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