Self-storage crime roundup: Kidnapping call leads to shootout in storage parking lot

February 5, 2014 0
Self-storage crime roundup: Kidnapping call leads to shootout in storage parking lot

After receiving a tip that Caitlin McNamara had been kidnapped at gunpoint, authorities in the Waco, TX, area went on the lookout for McNamara, Michael Joseph Alvarado and a black pickup truck.

Later that day, on Dec. 18, McLennan County deputies spotted 25-year-old Alvarado and 23-year-old McNamara sitting together inside Alvarado’s truck, which was parked at Bear Storage on 1215 Baylor Ave., a few blocks from Baylor University.

According to an affidavit, “Captain Colyer noticed [that] McNamara was trying to get out of the truck, but [Alvarado] would not let her.” The document also claims Alvarado raised a pistol, pointed it at Colyer and drove toward him. Colyer shot at Alvarado’s truck, but Alvarado evaded him and proceeded toward the front gate.

According to police documents, Constable Walt Strickland was parked nearby in the facility parking lot. As Alvarado came barreling toward the front gate, Strickland ran behind his SUV and fired his service gun.

Alvarado fired shots through his windshield, and when his pickup didn’t make it through the gate, Strickland and Alvarado exchanged gunfire.

Around this same time, McLennan County Sheriff’s Deputy Johnny Spillman arrived and fired at Alvarado’s truck. Spillman suffered a gunshot wound to the leg and was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Since Alvarado’s time in the hospital and his booking on Christmas Eve, McNarmara has refused to cooperate in the kidnapping investigation. According to the Waco Tribune-Herald, the kidnapping charges have been dropped. Alvarado faces three accounts of aggravated assault and was being held on $502,000 bond.

As McNamara’s Facebook account reveals, she supports Alvarado. Both McNamara and Alvarado’s cousin Matt Romero are quite vocal on Facebook. For his part, Romero believes Alvarado will be vindicated after the self-storage facility’s surveillance tapes are reviewed.

The Texas Rangers and the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office are investigating.


Clinton, CT | Authorities arrest man after viewing YouTube video

While giving a tour of his secret marijuana garden, William Bradley politely asks YouTube viewers to send cash donations to his P.O. box in Westbrook, CT. But some of these viewers were police officers.

Speaking in poetic euphemisms, Bradley describes his garden as “medicine” and “bouquets of flowers.”

In a bizarre, Kickstarter-esque campaign, Bradley explains: “I want to give this extra medicine I have away, I want to be able to give it to people who have terminal cancer like I do. I want you to help me; I need your donations.”

According to the Hartford Courant, this is not Bradley’s first brush with the law. Bradley received a five-year suspended prison sentence after a 2008 police raided his home and found psychedelic mushrooms, hashish and more than 10 pounds of marijuana.

“I don’t want to be a criminal. I don’t want to have to sell this,” Bradley says. “I need to get my marijuana license so that I don’t have to be a criminal anymore.”

At one point in the video, Bradley questions his own judgment: “I suffered a severe head injury and don’t even think I’m thinking correctly.” Bradley uploaded the video Oct. 12, about a month after he was in a life-threatening motorcycle wreck.

After a police spotted Bradley’s video, they learned he was dealing drugs out of a local self-storage unit. Inside the storage unit, authorities found cocaine, Oxycodone, hashish, 2 pounds of marijuana, packaging materials and more than $1,000 in cash.

Bradley appeared in court Jan. 14.

To watch the video, visit
Enumclaw, WA | Assault victim jumps from self-storage manager’s moving car

On Jan. 11, a domestic violence altercation almost turned deadly.

According to the Enumclaw Courier Herald, prominent self-storage manager and former City Councilman Glen Jensen assaulted girlfriend Kim Smasne after they returned home from a party.

Smasne was seriously injured, and Jensen offered to drive her to an emergency room. After much convincing, she eventually got in the truck with him. As it turned out, that was not a good idea.

Rather than heading to the hospital, Jensen drove 80 miles per hour east on Route 410 toward Mount Rainer. Smasne told authorities that she was sure Jensen was taking her to the woods to kill her.

Courageously, Smasne leaned across the front seat, stepped on the brake and kicked the truck out of gear. This slowed the truck to 30 to 35 mph. She jumped out of the moving truck, hurdled a guardrail and proceeded down an embankment. Jensen looked for her briefly before fleeing the scene.

After the coast was clear, the battered woman ascended the embankment and flagged down a driver. The Good Samaritan immediately took Smasne to the Enumclaw Police Department.

Jensen drove to his self-storage facility and hid in an on-site apartment. Although he ignored phone calls and knocks on the door, Jensen was arrested without incident later in the morning.

He faces several felony charges, including second-degree assault and unlawful imprisonment. In Washington state, a conviction could result in a $10,000 fine and up to five years in prison.

On Jan. 15, the two were still friends on Facebook, where Smasne wrote: “I am now the ex-girlfriend of Glen […] Good people can snap under stress. I am the one who lived through this and I forgive him and I hope everyone else will too.”

Jensen pleaded innocent to all three charges Jan. 28.


Lexington, KY | Fraud investigation leads police to body in self-storage

After receiving a tip from the Social Security Administration on Jan. 8, Lexington cops brought their K-9 unit to Econo Self Storage. Once the dogs identified the scent of human remains, the officers rolled up a storage door and made a grisly discovery.

The body of a man had likely been there for years.

Fayette County Coroner Gary Ginn was unable to determine the cause of death, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

For the Social Security Administration, this is likely a big break in an ongoing “deceased payee case.” In such a case, a family member or someone else with access to a dead person’s account does not inform the government of a death to keep collecting Social Security benefits.


San Rafael, CA | Max Wade sentenced to life behind bars

The Storage Facilitator has been following the Max Wade saga since his arrest at CSI Self Storage on April 28, 2012. The story is much stranger than fiction.

Although Wade committed all of his crimes when he was a juvenile, he was tried and convicted as an adult for the attempted murder of a California couple and the theft of celebrity chef Guy Fieri’s $200,000 Lamborghini.

According to the Marin Independent Journal, Wade also is a suspect in the unsolved 2009 murder of 75-year old Tiburon resident Joan Rosenthal. Although the murder case remains open, no charges have been filed against Wade.

Correspondence between Judge Kelly Simmons and juror Michael Dickson revealed that not all the jurors were immediately sold on the attempted-murder charge. Nevertheless, the jury ultimately found Wade guilty, and on Jan. 23, Judge Kelly Simmons handed the 20-year-old a harsh sentence: life in prison, plus 21 years and four months.

Here’s a summary of the Wade case:

March 8, 2011: Wade rappels down a San Francisco office building and enters a window to steal Fieri’s Lamborghini.

April 13, 2011: Dressed in all black, Wade shoots at Landon Walhstrom’s white truck in Mill Valley, then speeds off on a motorcycle. Seated inside the truck were Wahlstrom and Eva Dedier, a girl who repeatedly spurned Wade’s romantic advances.

June 20, 2012: Wade’s friends publish a rap video detailing and glorifying his criminal activity.

Aug. 10, 2012: On Wade’s 18th birthday, his friends use a sledgehammer in an attempt to spring him out of a juvenile detention center.


And now, The Storage Facilitator has learned–somewhat incredulously–that Wade was just getting started. In addition to the Lamborghini, motorcycle, fake San Francisco police uniform and various weapons, authorities found incriminating paperwork inside Wade’s storage unit in Richmond, CA.

The Plan
Authorities discovered a sales contract with a car dealership in the Dominican Republic. Apparently, Wade intended to sell the the stolen Lamborghini for $201,500 and had arranged for it to be shipped from the Port of Oakland.

According to KGO-TV, the dossier also outlined an elaborate plan to burglarize Shreve & Co. Jewelers in San Francisco’s Union Square, and then escape via helicopter. Wade had nighttime photographs of the Shreve & Co. rooftop, pictures of the alarm box and biological information about several Shreve employees.

Lead detective Greg Garrett claims Wade planned to create a diversion by setting off a smoke device or small bomb in the Macy’s store across the street from Shreve & Co; meanwhile, two of Wade’s accomplices were to enter the jewelry store in fake police uniforms and masks. And then Wade was planning to fly away with his co-conspirators in a helicopter getaway that would rival any scene from “The Town” or “Point Break.”

Wade allegedly had a specific helicopter in mind–a Robinson 44 parked at San Carlos Airport–and had looked into flying lessons.

Although Wade is eligible for parole, he will spend at least the next 15 years behind bars. At the absolute earliest, Wade will be 35 when he gets out.

Photos courtesy of the Waco Tribune-Herald’s Rod Aydelotte, YouTube,, Facebook,, KGO-TV, KNTV,

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