TALLMADGE, Ohio - Several people thought their precious belongings were safe inside locked storage units, but property worth tens of thousands of dollars has vanished after a rash of break-ins.
Darius Haynes and his wife, Carletta, spent about $200 per month to store most of their belongings at Public Storage on Brittain Road, but most of their stuff was stolen just as the couple prepared to move into their dream home.
"Dining room set, bedroom set, living room set, miscellaneous pictures, home decor and TV's," Haynes said. "Its all gone. We had some family heirloom pictures that were passed down. We had wedding gifts in there that we never had an opportunity to use."
According to police, it appears a crook crawled through an adjoining unit by peeling back insulation and going over a wall.
Once inside, a lock was busted, the door was rolled open and $16,000 worth of property was hauled away.
Tallmadge police are investigating six other similar break-ins at the storage facility. Most of them were reported in May, but two of the crimes date back to March.
One report indicated $15,000 worth of property was stolen from a woman who was storing expensive items that belonged to her mother, who had passed away.
"They hurt a lot of people. They took things that belong to people that has sentimental value," Haynes said.
Since Public Storage requires a key code to enter the facility, detectives believe someone who rented a unit was able to invade the others.
"They've developed a suspect," said Tallmadge Police Chief Ronald Williams. "I can't identify that person at this time, but I believe that they'll be able to make an arrest."
After talking with other victims, Haynes is convinced Public Storage didn't notify him of the break-in until days or weeks after it happened.
He was told there was no surveillance video on the property, and he questions why no one from the company noticed that locks had been tampered with.
"How does no one notice? Probably eight units were broken into. Things were taken out. That took a lot of time," he said.
A worker inside the business said she couldn't answer any questions about the crimes or security measures and referred News 5 to a district manager. A phone call to that manager has not been returned.
Haynes said he's working with his insurance company, but since he doesn't have pictures or receipts of all the items that were stolen, he's not sure how much of his huge loss will be covered.
"I just want some type of justice, and I just want to be compensated for my items that were taken," Haynes said.