TUCSON, AZ. — Job losses brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have some Americans looking for a new place to live and that could also mean renting a storage unit. KGUN 9 spoke to one unit theft victim who wanted to share her story to warn others to keep the same thing from happening to them. Real estate agent Lorena Johnson rented a storage unit at Anytime Storage at 7340 E. Benson Highway in March of 2019. Johnson used the unit to store furniture she used to stage properties for sale.
On March 31st she arrived at her unit to pick some furniture and was shocked to find her unit had been cleaned out. Thieves only left a couple of old mattresses and a drawer. She immediately reported the crime to management and was unsatisfied with the response she received. Johnson also claims the facility rented her a lock for her unit and she had to call ahead to get access. She was a first time renter and was hoping for an explanation from management.
"I went to the unit and there was no lock on it I opened it and I was like what the heck where's my stuff. Her first reaction was I can assure you my staff didn't take it. She said call your homeowners insurance I said well what are you going to do about it? What happens now it she said call your insurance we're not liable," Johnson said.
KGUN 9 made contact with representatives from Anytime Storage who released the following statement:
"Anytime Storage’s #1 focus is and always will be the health, safety and security of our Customers, Employees and their possessions. We believe that all company procedures were followed in the matter of our customer’s claim and that we complied fully with all contractual and legal obligations. We are and will continue to fully cooperate with local law enforcement. It is our understanding that this is an ongoing investigation and cannot comment further. We do hope that everyone stays safe and healthy during these trying times and look forward to our community healing and coming back strong."
According to Chris Pilcic with State Farm Insurance obtaining renters, home or personal property insurance is the best way to protect yourself before renting a storage unit. He says customer should check for security cameras, fencing and security guards. Key pad access, bolt locks, back-up alarms and lighting are also key. Adding that a rundown facility can potentially affect security. Another important tip is to log everything you own and look closely at your contract. Buying home, renters and personal property insurance are your best options before renting a unit. Its also good to double-check coverage on your policy.
"It's easy to remember the big things the TV's tablets and all of the electronics. But how many spoons do you have in the kitchen drawer how many pairs of pants to you have in the closet. Whether you're a victim of a fire or theft when it comes to building out that contents list you have it documented by pictures, videos lists for your insurance agent," Pilcic said.
Johnson says she lost about $5,000 worth of property. The few items that thieves left behind have been moved out of her unit and Johnson plans to be more careful in the future.
"They took shower curtains, curtain rods, shower rods, towels, rugs, mirrors, nightstands, lamps, beds everything, If they say than can rent you a lock and charge you every month don't go for that," Johnson said.
The Pima County Sheriff's Department is investigating the case.