Thieves breaking into storage units, moving in

Posted at 6:54 PM, Sep 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-09 22:10:27-04

SAN DIEGO - Thieves armed with bolt cutters are making themselves comfortable in University Heights, stealing one community's sense of security.

"It's upsetting and bold. It's shocking it's occurred during the daylight, while everyone was getting ready for work," said Rebecca Mersand, who lives at an apartment complex on North Avenue.

At 7 a.m. Friday, Mersand said the lock on her storage locker, above her carport, was secure.

However, two hours later, it was a different story.

"Immediately noticed my storage unit was open and my lock had been cut off," said Mersand.

Inside the locker, she found the sliced lock. Whoever did it tossed her belongings -- mostly empty containers -- onto a neighbor's car.

Nothing was taken, but for Mersand, it's not much of a consolation.

"You feel violated; this is your home," said Mersand.

Mersand told 10News this is the second lock recently cut off the storage lockers.

In recent months, she said the apartment manager has confronted many homeless targeting unused lockers.

"People will come by and try to use a storage locker for their own belongings and put their own lock on it," said Mersand.

The apartment manager removed those locks.

Mersand said it's not the first problem tied to a homeless population she believes is increasing in her neighborhood.

"I've seen an influx in the last several months. The area around the trash bin and recycling bin is often dirty. Sometimes they relieve themselves in the alley," said Mersand.

In March, 10News reported on a storage unit in North Park after neighbors said a homeless man cut the lock and turned it into a drug den.

It's the type of scene Mersand fears she and her neighbors could see more of.

"You try to be sensitive to their situations, but you don't have carte blanche to commandeer other people's property," said Mersand.

Mersand said some thieves have tried to break into the lockers by prying the hinges.

She plans to ask the apartment managers to install cameras.