Metro Battlefield Storage

Catoosa County's most recent storage unit burglary occurred on Liberty Lane near the Benton Place Campus. (Catoosa News photo/Adam Cook)

Catoosa County sheriff's detectives are investigating yet another storage unit burglary as part of an ongoing wave they've been dealing with since early summer.

The latest incident was reported on Oct. 3 when someone removed the lock from a unit at Metro Battlefield Storage at 175 Liberty Lane.

The victim says multiple tools and several other miscellaneous items were taken.

"The victim said she returned to her unit to find the lock on the ground," Deputy James Rodgers said. "She noticed a toolbox full of sockets and socket wrenches, three drills, a mini fridge, checks, and her cart full of crafting supplies were missing."

Although the report was filed Oct. 3, the victim told police she believes the break-in could have happened sometime in late September. She stated she was last at the unit on Sept. 14.

The Sheriff's Department has dealt with similar break-ins off and on over the years like any other community, but in recent months storage unit burglaries have been on the rise.

Several have occurred at facilities along U.S. Highway 41, and law enforcement officials with the Fort Oglethorpe Police Department say they've experienced similar cases lately.

In September sheriff's Capt. Chris Lyons explained the difficulty in cracking down on these cases. Like this most recent break-in, residents visit their units so infrequently that it's hard to know when the crimes actually occur.

"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.

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 Liberty Lane, is encouraged to contact the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department at 706-935-2424.

Adam Cook is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He has been a reporter since 2009. He can be reached at The Catoosa County News office at 706-935-2621 and by email at acook@npco.com.