Thieves use sly tactic to ransack Seattle storage units

Despite layers of digital locks, surveillance cameras, and gated access, a self-storage unit on West Marginal Way fell victim to robbery. 

Ryan Newstrum estimates the thieves stole $10,000 worth of valuables from him. Among the list of stolen items: a prized guitar, expensive camping gear, high-end woodworking tools, as well as an art collection he’d amassed.

"So, I’m looking at all this stuff I spent so much time and energy and education accruing," reflected Ryan. "I don’t know how I’m going to get that stuff back."

According to Newstrum, the burglars rummaged through each box packed neatly in his unit, leaving behind a chaotic mess of emptied containers and a wall of discarded belongings. The incident occurred at StorQuest on West Marginal Way, where Newstrum believes the thieves employed a tactic involving renting a unit under a legitimate name to gain access to multiple units undetected.

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"They've done it before. They've done it a number of times," Newstrum remarked. "This isn't specific to that location. It's multiple locations around the city."

Turns out this scheme is not new. In 2020, a similar tactic was captured on camera in Woodinville, where criminals utilized fraudulent methods to rent units and bypass security measures.


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Authorities caution that even seemingly secure facilities can be vulnerable to determined thieves. Instances of thieves cutting through fences and locks are not uncommon, as evidenced by a previous break-in at a storage facility in Bellevue, where 60 units were targeted.

In this most recent incident, Newstrum learned the harsh reality of limited liability and insurance coverage when it comes to storing valuables. 

"The storage unit isn’t liable for all that stuff," said Newstrum. "The insurance policies only cover up to $5,000."

Newstrum filed a report with Seattle Police. FOX 13 has followed up with authorities for an update on their investigation.


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