Investigators in Polk County are still trying to track down the thieves who broke into more than 40 storage units in a facility in Lakeland over the weekend.
Angry victims at Socrum Self-Storage are looking for answers, but their experience may be an important lesson for everyone.
“I opened the door and the bikes were gone,” said Lee Smith, who came to check on his unit Friday and discovered his daughter’s mountain bikes missing.
Smith had his unit secured with a pad lock.
Sherman Byrd did, too.
“They made us feel secure here, you know? But I didn’t think about the road back here that’s not monitored or the fence there,” he said.
Detectives believe all the units hit early Friday morning had the same type of lock that is pretty easy for a criminal to cut off.
“First and foremost we tell the public if you’re going to use a storage facility, to buy that circular lock. It is impenetrable and can not be cut by bolt cutters,” said Carrie Horstman with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
The managers at Socrum Self-Storage would not talk on camera but told ABC Action News that they are now handing out the same type of circular locks to those who ask.
Another important tip to consider: insurance.
Storage unit policies start at less than $10 a month and may even be a part of renters or home insurance.
“I just don’t think it’s fair. I think they should pay,” Byrd said, suggesting the owners of the facility should take some responsibility.
The sheriff’s office said the business did have adequate lighting, security cameras.
Detectives believe the thieves got away in a Chevrolet Avalanche. Anyone with any information should call the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.