Thieves break into multiple Brown County storage units

Officials say multiple padlocks were cut and replaced

BROWN COUNTY - Thieves broke into more than a dozen storage units in the area, helping themselves to thousands of dollars in items.

The Brown County Sheriff's Office says the crimes started more than two weeks ago.

One storage unit renter says she's surprised her unit was not broken into.

"If anybody would break in, you'd think it would have been mine because mine's like the furthest back," said Carolann Sonsalla.

Sonsalla heard about the recent break-ins after getting a call from NEW Storage in Bellevue.

It's one of five locations in Brown County where officials say locks were cut and items were stolen.

The storage unit facilities are located in Howard, Hobart, and Bellevue.

Sonsalla says she checked her unit to make sure nothing was taken.

"Everything looked secure so I was okay. I guess I'm lucky," Sonsalla said.

But some self-storage customers aren't so lucky.

"There's multiple items…some jewelry [and] sporting goods. In particular we have several spools of wire that were used in construction purposes," said Capt. David Konrath with the Brown County Sheriff's Office.

Konrath says some of the other items that were stolen include generators, tools, and a slab of granite.

"It's in the thousands of dollars. There's some of the jewelry that was worth, one piece was worth $8,000," Konrath said.

The manager of the Bellevue facility didn't want to go on camera but he did tell FOX 11 that there are more than 700 units at his site.

He also mentioned that around 300 units still have the standard padlock and those locks are being switched over to circular locks because they're harder to break into.

Konrath says the thief or thieves are also replacing the locks for easy access.

"If they put a lock on it, it won't be noticed as readily as a storage unit without a lock," Konrath said.

Konrath says the department looked at surveillance video from the storage facilities, but there aren't any suspects at this time.

The storage unit managers say they are notifying their customers.

Konrath says if you have a storage unit, check the lock and make sure nothing was taken.