Unlike the storage unit shows you see on television, this storage unit saga is a cause of great concern for law enforcement.
"When you go to these storage facilities, there are others there. They're watching what you put in,” Col. Worthy said. “When they are paying more attention to you than what they're putting in (their units), that's a cue to watch them. "
Self-storage units have become something of a “spare room” for many Americans. According to an online trade association study, 40% of people lease a storage unit.
David Levine, a retired hotel executive, knows the value of space. He and his family have spent at least $10,000 leasing extra space to store belongings.
"We had our (things) from other homes that we owned that we wanted to bring back and keep in a safe place,” Levine explained.
The industry of self-storage units is worth multiple billions. In Shelby County alone, FOX13 found 35 different brands. Public Storage, Extra Space, U-Haul have multiple locations in the area.
The industry brags that the number of storage units outnumbers McDonald’s locations, but in their neon signs you won’t see any information about the possibility of break-ins.
Levine's unit was hit by burglars twice.
"The first time the thieves came in and all they did was pop off this hasp or plate, and it rendered the lock useless. It came off with the plate,” he said.
Months later, and MPD report shows his East Memphis storage unit was burglarized again.
"They came in and just cut with a saw or snippers… so it didn't matter how good the lock was,” Lavine explained.
Colonel Worthy said it's hard to stop thieves, especially if the location is not taking all necessary precautions.