Advertised promises questioned after break-ins

Nick Zimmermann, a small business owner in Springfield, said more than $6,000 of tools were taken from his rented storage unit at Springfield Storage Depot East on South Charleston Pike last week.

He reported the theft to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, telling detectives there should be security camera footage from a camera that was mounted near his unit.

“I chose the specific storage unit with two cameras facing on it under the impression it’d be a secure location to store my tools and equipment for work, and then I come to find out it’s not,” Zimmermann said.

As he investigated the incident further, he said he was told by managers at the facility that not all the cameras on the property were hooked up to record video, Zimmermann said.

“I would urge anybody to do a lot more research and make sure any of the cameras that are on the facility are real,” he said.

Consumer advocates said customers buying any product — including rental units — can fall victim to misleading advertising. Buyers need to ask important questions when it comes to promises stated in contracts or on advertisements, said John North, president of the Dayton Better Business Bureau.

Across the nation last year, nearly 1,000 consumers filed complaints about storage facilities to the BBB, North said.

There were only five complaints in the Miami Valley, he said, and Zimmermann’s story can be a lesson for anyone.

“We do need to dive deeper. You need to ask those questions and hold (businesses) accountable for that,” North said.

Thefts at storage units happen often, said Detective Darlene Buxton with the sheriff’s office. Thieves tend to target specific rental facilities in waves, she added.

Buxton is actively investigating three break-ins reported at the Springfield Storage Depot East since mid-December. Mainly tools, wheel rims and tires — in total, more than $10,000 worth of items — have been stolen from the units, she said.

The last break-in was reported Sunday morning and detectives have submitted evidence found at the scene for examination to identify a possible suspect in the case, Buxton said.

Detectives confirmed they are using video from cameras that were functioning the night of the break-ins as part of their investigation.

In light of the recent break-ins, Zimmermann said he hopes the storage facility will install cameras that could catch the thieves on video if it were to happen again.

Springfield Storage Depot East did not return calls seeking comment.

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