Craziest Story In Self-Storage: Real-Life Crime Saga With Takeaways For Operators

May 18, 2012 6
Craziest Story In Self-Storage: Real-Life Crime Saga With Takeaways For Operators

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
• Lamborghini
• Motorcycle
• 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
• Mask

  • http://www.storeitall.co.uk/fulfilment-services.html order fulfillment servicees

    Thanks for posting such an informational story. it indeed is a lesson to all and not only storage operators who indulge in such practices and invite losses for one selves and the nation

  • Peter

    There are always lesson to be learned, and no matter how long you do it a refresher is always a good thing. I highly doubt the person drove up in the Lamborghini to rent the unit, and if he had access to the space after hours he could have easily put the car in during that time. It also list that he had many fake id’s, so I am sure he did not give an id that said he was 17 on it at time of rental.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/C5RLDWLVQ2JFJVECBABG5SYRQI Dino

    “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.”

    Ummm, only if parked outside. We are not Warehouseman, we do not look through their things or ever handle their items within their unit. Who is to say that a 17 year old can or cannot drive an expensive car? You?

    “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.”

    Self Righteous Much? So we should “Profile” our customers now – ” No, Sorry I can’t rent to you … you don’t look right” ??!!??!!

    Let me guess, SpareFoot is now automatically performing these background checks and reviewing all items that each referral is storing … because if not, it would ultimately be their fault.

    John Donegan, you know nothing about self storage.

    • John Donegan

      Dino,

      Thanks for your feedback. That is a good point about the stolen Lamborghini – that it was stored indoors and likely unbeknownst to the facility manager. Thanks for reading and holding me accountable on this fact.

      John

  • Amy

    It could have easily been done. A person rents with a fake id and moves in after office hours. That is the time he probably brought in the car and motorcycle. After he put it in his unit he probably did not come back during office hours so he would not risk the car being seen, etc. So I would say the Manager probably did what they were suppose to do. It is very easy for criminals to do things in storage units, example bodies found in barrels in a storage unit, meth labs, etc.

  • John Donegan

    Amy and Peter,

    Thank you for reading. I think you’re both right. I followed up with the manager at CSI Storage today, and he is an honest and diligent manager. I appreciate your responses!

    John