Thieves target dozens of Bellevue storage units, carefully search for valuables

BELLEVUE -- Criminals are targeting storage units in Bellevue, and the problem could get worse before it gets better.

Police said thieves have hit a dozen locations in the area.

“The only thing separating the storage unit from the burglar in these cases was a chain link fence and a lock that was cut with bolt cutters,” said Officer Seth Tyler, with Bellevue Police.

He said in the last six weeks, police have learned of at least 60 individual storage units where locks have been cut and items were stolen.

“The main message for people who do have property at a storage unit facility, is don’t consider that to be completely secure,” said Tyler.

Some he said offer overnight security, some barely have a security camera.

He said the crooks know how to avoid being detected, cutting fences in the back of the facilities.

“They were in and out in a matter of minutes,” said Tyler.

He said they aren’t cleaning out the units, but rather sorting through for valuables.

“Some of the things that were stolen were jewelry, credit cards, these are not things that should be left in a storage facility.”

Tyler said the burglars have even stolen firearms out of units, something that should never be in a storage unit at all.

Police are also hearing similar reports in Seattle and Redmond, he said the crooks are not slowing down.If you do need to use storage facilities, police said, protect what you’ve got: do not leave valuables, do not leave firearms and record serial numbers on all items left.

“That makes it a lot easier for the police to recover your property if it’s posted online for sale, after it’s sold or if it’s pawned at a pawn shop.”

Most insurance companies offer storage unit coverage through their homeowner’s or renter’s policies.