Customers upset over thefts, security lapses at storage facility

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INDIANAPOLIS – A break-in at a storage facility has tenants not only angry at the thief—but at management as well. They’re livid over a broken security gate that allows for walk-up access to their high-priced vehicles.

Tenants at U-Stor on Michigan Road in Indianapolis claim they’ve been complaining to management for a year that the company doesn’t offer what’s advertised, putting valuable property at risk.

One of U-Stor’s tenants, Frank Tompkins, said the gate that’s supposed to keep his truck and other tenants’ vehicles safe is broken and they refuse to fix it.

“When that keypad is used, the office records everyone’s code so that you know who is coming in and who is leaving out,” Tompkins said.

The problem is that nobody needs to use a keypad to get in anymore because of the broken gate.

Tompkins is a city contractor and the final straw came when someone broke in and stole his work truck, crippling his business.

The thief did have to get through an arm that lifts and lowers, but Tompkins said whoever stole it just walked around that arm, stole the truck and wiggled the arm around to get it to open manually.

Someone tried to steal another truck belonging to city contractor Phil Livers. That thief couldn’t get it started.

“Anybody can walk in here and people have valuable stuff in here and anybody can take anything they want,” Livers said.

Larry Davis keeps his lawn care and snow removal vehicles at U-Stor. He wants to move, but has already paid through May. The facility doesn’t offer refunds.

He said the management has been giving him nothing but excuses about the broken gate.

“They were just saying it was too expensive for them to fix and they weren’t going to fix it and that the responsibility was on us,” Davis said.

“They stated that their insurance only covers their property, well then why didn’t you turn it into insurance and get it fixed because our livelihood is being parked here on your facility?” Tompkins wondered.

Representatives from U-Stor declined an on camera interview. Instead they issued this statement:

“U-STOR has always and continues to provide exceptional security and outstanding service and value within the self-storage marketplace. Our facilities are well-lit, have security code protected access, have individually alarmed units and property managers that live on-site and who are available around the clock. Unfortunately, no facility is entirely insusceptible to every potential criminal intrusion. With this understanding, U-STOR and each of its tenants agree, in writing, on the scope of our respective rights and obligations when it comes to securing and insuring property stored at U-STOR locations, including tenants’ responsibility to insure their property and to exercise best practices when it comes to protecting against damage and theft.

“When, from time-to-time, the safeguards put in place by U-STOR and a tenant fall short, U-STOR gives law enforcement, the tenant and the tenant’s insurer its full cooperation. Specific to recent events at our Michigan Road location, we have turned over our surveillance tapes to law enforcement, we have provided statements and we continue to work with law enforcement on an ongoing basis to assist with their continuing investigation.”

Customers who spoke to Fox59 don’t buy it.

“They need to own up to what they’re doing and stop misleading people in what they’re saying and providing,” Tompkins said.

So we went to the management company, Sandlian Management Corp and contacted Darah Watson.

This is a portion of the conversation:

Jenny Anchondo: It says that you have security code protected access.

Darah Watson: We do.

Jenny Anchondo: But that gate is broken.

Darah Watson: I understand that and we have security gated code access at the front.

(However, that is just the small arm that you can walk around.)

The conversation continued:

Jenny Anchondo: Are you going to fix it?

Darah Watson: That’s the statement we’re prepared to give at this time.

That answer isn’t sufficient for the tenants.

“We’re paying for security, so if we can’t get the security we’re paying for…” Davis said, alluding to the possibility of taking his business elsewhere.

The tenants said other property has been broken into as well, but those victims just don’t know yet because they haven’t visited the facility lately.

The stolen truck is a 1998 black Dodge Ram 1500. If you know anything, call the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

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