SAN ANTONIO – Self-storage units offer a solution for individuals and businesses to store their belongings, but while they provide convenience, they can also cause concern about theft.
Joshua Gomez, a U.S. Army veteran, says he had seven years of his life ripped away after someone took his belongings from a storage unit he was renting.
“I went through a whole range of emotions — between angry, sad, frustrated, I guess, hopeless in some areas,” said Gomez.
He discovered his storage unit located at 8378 Culebra Road had been broken into on Saturday, Sept. 30. He and his girlfriend told KSAT the thieves rummaged through their belongings and stole nearly $20,000 worth of items.
“If I had to ballpark it, I would say between $15,000 and $20,000 worth of tools I collected over the years,” said Gomez.
After transitioning out of the military, Gomez attended UTI’s automotive technology program in Houston to become a mechanic. He said he worked on cars using the tools that took him hard work, sweat and tears to purchase for the past seven years.
Gomez isn’t the only one who has fallen victim to storage theft. According to SAPD, in 2022, more than 700 cases of burglary of a rental storage facility were reported. This year, more than 500 cases have been reported so far.
“We do know a couple of other units were hit. They wouldn’t give us any specifics,” said Gomez.
His storage unit showed no visible signs of forced entry, and that’s because he says the lock was swapped. Gomez showed our cameras how his key wouldn’t open one of the two doors to his unit that worked just a couple of weeks ago.
Gomez said he hopes at least one of the many cameras on-site captured those responsible for the theft.
“Those tools are heavy. There’s a reason we had to get a U-Haul and have like three or four guys to push them on the U-Haul and off. I’ve done that many times, and it’s definitely not easy, and it’s impossible to be undetected,” said Gomez.
Although the staff at the storage facility did not want to be interviewed on camera, they told KSAT that storage theft is not uncommon there.
Gomez said he paid for storage insurance, but now the company is requesting the tools’ receipts. He advises anyone not to store high-value items at these facilities and to have an inventory list, complete with pictures.
“I would not recommend using any storage. You never know,” said Gomez.