After a self-storage tenant noticed odd odors emanating from a neighboring storage unit, he alerted the manager and a police investigation ensued.
Rowley, MA, police officer Matt Zier watched hours of ABZ Self Storage’s surveillance footage, which depicted Timothy Vonallgeier, 24, logging long hours inside his 5×10 unit, often with the door slightly ajar. Vonallgeier occasionally would meet with guests and exchange suitcases for cash.
Zier obtained a warrant to search to the unit, where he discovered all the requisite materials for a ketamine conversion lab–a microwave with ketamine residue, nitrous oxide containers, two scales and empty ketamine bottles.
Additionally, there were fake IDs, a forged cable TV bill, an American Express card and detailed records. According to the records, Vonallgeier allegedly was involved in a ketamine-trafficking operation that reached at least as far as Hawaii and California. In fact, authorities suspect the illicit enterprise could have been international in scope.
After a warrant for arrest was issued, Vonallgeier’s lawyer arranged for the suspect to turn himself in, and he was arraigned June 27. Vonallgeier faces one count of distributing ketamine (a Class A drug) and two counts of possession with intent to distribute.
Ketamine, or “Special K” as it’s known on the street, is a popular hallucinatory party drug with side effects similar to PCP, which goes by the name “angel dust.” A common animal anesthetic, ketamine often is diverted from veterinarians’ offices for recreational use.
Vonallgeier’s Previous Legal Run-Ins
April 2007: Possession of marijuana (Class D) in a school zone, intent to distribute
January 2009: Driving with a suspended license
October 2011: Resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, attempting to commit a crime, possession of marijuana
As this incident shows, tenants can help storage managers fight crime. In fact, self-storage managers can benefit from taking a “If you see something, say something” approach, similar to one adopted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies.
Photos courtesy of Tony Smyth, The Associated Press and the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority