Maybe you’ve heard the most bizarre story to come out of self-storage this year— the one about the 17-year-old aspiring mafioso who headquartered the accessories of his increasingly grandiose criminal exploits in a Richmond, CA storage unit. In addition to a yellow Lamborghini stolen from celebrity chef Guy Fieri, Max Wade stored two guns, fake IDs, plans for future crimes and a San Francisco Police Department uniform.
We had to wonder: How is a teenager like Wade able to repeatedly access a garish stolen sports car and firearms without raising the eyebrows of a storage facility manager? More importantly, how was he able to acquire the unit in the first place? What booking policies were in place at the aptly named CSI Storage, and what lessons, if any, can be learned from the Max Wade story?
When I called the facility manager at CSI, he was unable to comment due to the ongoing police investigation. However, I think it’s safe to assume that 17-year-old Wade, a known counterfeiter, provided CSI with fake documents upon move-in. By law, self-storage customers must be at least 18 years old to rent, and self-storage facilities are required to ensure the name on the customer’s driver’s license matches the name on their stored vehicle’s registration or title.
Many facilities also require proof of insurance, and the CSI Storage tenant application even asks for a social security number and an employer’s contact information. All these factors considered, how is it that Wade was able to avoid detection? Storing a Corolla is one thing, but a $200,000 car that goes zero-to-sixty in four seconds is an entirely different story.
There’s definitely a lesson here for storage operators, a reminder of how critical it is to keep the reins tight on new tenant registration. Paperwork should be checked and double-checked. Questionable behavior shouldn’t meet a blind eye. The overwhelming majority of storage managers do it right, but we can all use a refresher now and then to appreciate why all those rules and policies are really in place.
CONTENTS OF STORAGE UNIT
• Replica San Francisco Police Department uniform and badge
• Dismantled AK-47
• .357 revolver
• Cell phone signal jamming devices
• Fake IDs for Florida, California, and New York
• List of police scanner frequencies
• Documents planning future crimes