In an interesting twist on the usual self storage break-in stories, a self storage business owner is being accused of stealing from units at his facility. Customers of The Place With Space in Ypsilanti, MI were shocked to discover that not only were items missing from their units, but those items were allegedly taken by the owner of the facility, Randy Heldt. Heldt assumed ownership of the facility this when his father, Warren Heldt, died earlier this year. It is uncertain exactly when the younger Heldt took over the facility. He filed paperwork with the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs of Michigan as the owner of the facility in November 2013.
According to Heldt, who has refused to speak in detail to any media outlet, this incident is one big misunderstanding but his customers are telling a different story. One customer Dawn Rehmels says she was always a month ahead of her payments but arrived at the facility one day to find her belongings were gone and the lock removed from her unit. Inside the unit, there were expensive hunting equipment and musical instruments. There were irreplaceable items in the unit as well such as letters she wrote as a child to her dying father and pictures of her son who died in a car accident.
Rehmels reported that the items in her unit were burned by a consignment shop that was selling her belongings, along with the belongings of other customers of the self storage facility. Another The Place With Space customer reportedly found her grandmother’s silverware being sold for $10 at the same consignment shop. Law enforcement suspects that Heldt stole items from the unit and sold them to the consignment shop. Police have yet to release information on the number of units that were allegedly burglarized Heldt but fortunately, some of the items have been recovered and returned to their rightful owners. Heldt is being held at the Pittsfiled Township Police Department and is under criminal investigation.
This further contributes to the disheartening trend of self storage burglaries. If you can’t trust the owner of the self storage facility with your belongings then who can you trust?