Thread: Meth & Self-Storage
17th July 2009, 11:42 AM #1
Meth & Self-Storage
Unfortunately, the meth drug problem is widespread across the United States, and the contaband can be manufactured or stored in any number of inconspicuous places.
Here's a recent story out of Wichita Falls, Texas, of a tenant being caught with meth in a unit: http://www.insideselfstorage.com/hot...f-storage.html
I was wondering if you have any drug-related tales to share -- or more important, any prevention ideas.
Last edited by jcarlisle; 29th July 2009 at 10:58 AM. Reason: To edit the place. Wrong Wichita.John Carlisle
Community Manager Emeritus
Still a Big Fan of Self-Storage!
17th July 2009, 12:56 PM #2alexlekas Guest
this is where access control software can come into play, specifically the activity log contained therein. I'm not in the business, but it seems that meth-making requires some time. The log, when used in conjunction with both an entry and exit keypad, gives a clear picture of when someone came onto the property and how long he/she stayed.
I cannot think of a valid reason beyond move-in or move-out for why anyone would need to spend more than, say, a half hour on the grounds. Managers are going to know better than me if there ARE good reasons for lengthy visits other than ones cited, but the log is often a manager/owner's first clue to something unusual that may be happening.
Once you find someone routinely being on site for an hour, two, or longer, point a camera in the unit's direction and frequently go by the unit "just seeing if you're okay or need anything". I think best prevention here is one small part technology and one large part leaving the office.
Last edited by jcarlisle; 17th July 2009 at 05:16 PM. Reason: To add extra word
17th July 2009, 01:48 PM #3
I've had the police come to the office a few times over the years with a picture book of suspects related to meth manufacturing. I'm in a built up suburban area, but parts of my county are more open and less populated. In those areas, the bad guys have been known to rent a unit in a poorly managed facility and proceed to manufacture meth in the unit. The police tell me that the making of the drug requires some very smelly chemicals and they have found that the bad guys have actually popped a makeshift smokestack through the roof of the storage unit to vent the heat and smell. That certainly wouldn't work in my facility, not only because I am often on golf cart reconnaissance missions, but the smell would be noticed by the higher population here.
The police have also shown me examples of the glassware needed to make the drugs, beakers, bowls, strangely shaped chemical vessels, etc. They've asked me to notify them if I run across anything like that in a storage unit.
Luckily I haven't yet, as I'm not sure what the liability of that notification to the police would mean to me and my business.
Just last week I sort of chased out a tenant that was spending too much time in his unit. He would come almost every night right at closing time and stay 30 minutes past closing. He had obviously given his access code to multiple friends, as they would arrive independently of him and wait by his unit. One night my son and I quietly walked down to his unit and we both jumped into his unit and I said VERY loudly "whatcha doin' in here?". Needless to say I scared him good. He hemmed and hawed and although I found him doing nothing particularly wrong, I kept saying to him that something didn't seem right. He claimed everything was on the up and up, but I just kept saying that something didn't seem right with him... I reiterated my now locally famous line "this is not base camp, this is dead storage" to him a few times, gave him the evil eye and we left. Yesterday he came in and told me he had moved everything out and wanted a refund for the remainder of the month. No go on the refund (no proration at move-out), but I wasn't unhappy to see him gone. Seems to me he knew I was onto something, I don't think you'd move a nearly completely full 10x25 just because the manager was a jerk to you one time.
Back in the early days a young couple showed up in one of those very small U-Haul Toyota trucks. They wanted a 5x10 immediately. Back then I didn't know what the signs were to ask more questions, I was just happy to rent a unit. After the paperwork was complete they went through the gates to their unit. About 20 minutes later I was on one of these golf cart laps and noticed their truck parked VERY close to the building with their unit door halfway down. I shimmied my way between the building and the truck and threw up their door to find the woman and a 3 yr old little girl sitting on the floor with their pajamas on, and in the back of the unit there was a blanket covering a truck's tubular roll bar that had been tipped on it's side. Just then the blanket opened and out came a cloud of drug smoke and sitting inside there was the man with some sort of pipe. Why they couldn't have done that in the u-haul I don't know, it was completely empty.
All money returned, lease canceled, get out. I still feel sorry for that little girl.
17th July 2009, 03:49 PM #4Junior Member
- Join Date
- Jun 2009
Just this past month we were served with a search warrant. They found about a kilo of heroin in the unit. We have been managing for a lot of years so these search come as no surprise. Thank the good Lord we have never had a Meth lab on our property. At least we don't think we ever have. Scarey stuff!
17th July 2009, 05:20 PM #5
The key is staying on top of what is going on - if all you do is sit on your butt and never leave the office you will get the meth labs and drug dealers.
If we have tenants on the lot I am driving around at least once an hour - I also watch the cameras constantly.Wayne
All arguments can be resolved ... with high explosives and Humor!!!
17th July 2009, 07:41 PM #6Junior Member
- Join Date
- Jun 2009
I couldn't agree with you more. John always makes his rounds during the day. We also walk the property after we close and have dinner. We walk for about a half hour. Kills two birds with one stone. Surveillence and exercise!
18th July 2009, 03:02 PM #7
Drug Related Tale
A guy rents a 7x10 hallway unit. Each time he comes in, he parks his car on the far side of another building, opens both hallway doors, goes into his unit and pulls the door down leaving it open about 12 inches or so. Creepy sort, so I don't want to deal with him; and of course he tended to come in late after office hours. Occasionally there was an odor lingering about but I couldn't identify it.
One night he does his usual thing, but I'd had an inspiration. I went through the property, closed the one hallway door with a loud bang. Figured I'd get his attention but nothing. So I walked through the hallway, closed his unit and snapped a lock on it. Still nothing and I know he's in the unit. Then I walked out of the other door, closed it and waited. About 10 minutes later I heard noises, he's fumbling with the door. The noises get louder and soon he's banging about and getting more desperate.
I walk into the hallway calling out "Is somebody in here?" Creepy guy answers and says "I'm stuck in my unit, can you help me please?" He's begging and whimpering. I speak into the radio and state "Yes, Joe Blow is still here, guess I just accidentally locked him in. I'll be back in the office in a minute." (There was no one at the other end of the two way.)
I said to him through the door, "Oopsie, I'm really sorry, I didn't know anyone was here. I was just securing your unit for you, we thought you left it unlocked."
As I rolled up the door he was squeezing from behind a row of boxes that blocked the view of whatever else was in the unit. There was a strong odor of some illegal substance. He thanked me (giggle) and left immediately. Actually, he couldn't leave fast enough... and the best end of the story line is; the next day he moved out!
_______________________________________________Before anyone chastises me; yes, I know it was not the smartest thing to do, but if he had been belligerent from inside his unit I would have phoned the Police Department and waited for them to arrive to let him out. I would not advise anyone else to do this, and in hindsight I should not have done so either. Disclaimer: No managers were harmed in the execution of this move out.
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Morgan Hill, California
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I am not an attorney, just an experienced manager who is willing to share what I have learned. Your thoughts, practices or opinions may vary and neither of us may be right.
18th July 2009, 05:08 PM #8
Good for you, Gina! Glad it all turned out OK.
So I have a customer who comes in after hours a lot, or comes in for just a few minutes at a time. Usually several times in a day. So, of course we are watching him. However, most of the time, by the time we get out there he has already locked up and driven away. We tried taking a photo from the small space at the top of the wall, but due to a partition, we can't see what's in there that he's hiding.
Unit notes: Because of suspicious activity, we have been trying to go out to see in his unit when he is here. When I went out today, his door was closed except about a foot. I knocked on the door and he slid under to come out to talk to me. Then he came into the office wanting to know why we are following him. I explained that it's just our security policy that we monitor the buildings and hallways closely. He always burns incense when he is here. I have told him he can't do that. He says he comes here to pray and that he can't do it at home because he is a stripper!?? (Stripper's can't pray at home?!?!) He asked for permission to be left alone to pray when he is here. We will keep a close eye on his activities. We are aware that he has a partition half way back in the unit to hide what is behind it.
So I called the local narcotics cops and they brought their dog out for a look around. She didn't find anything suspicious, so we just keep a close eye. Right now, he can't get in because he's past due. Keeps things a bit quieter for us for the time being.MamaDuke
The art of life is to know how to enjoy a little and to endure very much.