Catoosa County sheriff's detectives were called to a storage unit burglary in Ringgold recently, one of many the department has been dealing with in recent weeks.
According to the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department, deputies were called out to 117 Cashcow Lane in Ringgold on July 25 after a woman reported her storage unit had been burglarized, with multiple items taken.
The victim told deputies and detectives that she'd last visited her unit approximately six days prior, and that she returned to find her lock had been forced open.
The woman said two antique storage trunks, five fishing rods and reels, a log roller, a box of dishes, and several miscellaneous tools were stolen, reports show.
When management of the storage facility encouraged her to file a report with the sheriff's department, she learned that detectives were investigating several other similar incidents in the area over the past few weeks.
Sheriff' Capt. Chris Lyons confirmed that the incident was similar to others being investigated by detectives.
"Incidents like this come in waves," Lyons said. "This particular burglary we believe is part of an earlier wave we're investigating, and it's even common for multiple units to get burglarized at the same time at one facility"
Lyons says storage unit burglaries are often difficult for investigators due to all the variables surrounding them.
"Problems get presented because most of the time items stored in units are things people don't necessarily need everyday, so they don't check on them often," Lyons said. "It's tough working an incident when someone last visited their unit on June 1, and then doesn't discover something is missing until Aug. 1. That gives a two-month gap where we're trying to figure out what happened and when."
There's also no set rules or precautions that facilities are mandated to take, so everyone patrols their units differently. Some have video surveillance, some don't. Others have gates around them and are locked up through the night while others allow 24/7 access.
"It's really up to the individual storage unit facility owners," Lyons said. "Some places you can access 24/7, and then some are fenced in and gated, which is good, but sometimes people will rent a unit, and then break into other units around them later after they've watched the place for a little while. A lot of facilities don't keep up with who comes and goes either because a lot have one access code that they give to all the people who rent units from them."
As far as prevention goes, Lyons says little things like logging serial numbers and having photographs of items can make the difference in cases.
"Photos and serial numbers help tremendously," Lyons said. "Sometimes items have been sold two or three times before people even realize they're missing. Storage building burglaries occur everywhere, it's not just us having a rash of them...it happens all over."
Anyone with information about the recent burglaries, specifically the one on Cashcow Lane, is encouraged to contact the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department at 706-935-2424.