PARK CITY, Kan. (KWCH) A self storage company called Red Dot is advertised as safe, simple storage, but one Wichita woman says the real story is far from that claim as the company falls well short on the security front.
When Karen Osborn moved her ailing mother from Boston to Wichita, she needed a place to store her things. She rented a storage unit in Park City and initially, was a satisfied customer..
"All of the people in this facility, there was never a problem. Everybody paid their bills. There were no break-ins," she says.
But she says, that changed last October when Red Dot bought the storage facility.
"They just cut the locks," Osborn says.
Someone burglarized her unit. There wasn't much of a monetary value lost, but the sentimental value of what thieves took constitutes a grand theft in Osborn's eyes.
"They took pictures, photo albums that aren't going to mean anything to them that mean the world to me," she says.
more break-ins happened, not all at once, but rather over and over.
"Between the month of April to August, we've had eight out of that storage facility," says Park City Police Corporal Christopher Shields, an investigator with the department.
As that total only represents a five-month sample, Shields says there may be more break-ins.
The problem, according to Red Dot customers, boils down to security, or rather a lack of security. Osborn says Red Dot installed cameras when they bought the facility. Shields says he hoped video from the company would lead him to the thieves behind some of the burglaries, but that hasn't happened.
Osborn says whoever installed the cameras forgot to peel the film off the lenses and the gate that would help to keep thieves out hasn't worked since January.
Osborn says anyone can drive through the facility. She says Red Dot opened the gate a little after it took over and that gate stayed open.
"When the gate was down, we noticed in January of 2019. I called and I said, 'hey, my husband and I were here and the gate's down,'" Osborn says.
She says she and her husband were told that would be fixed. Nine months later, the gate remains open, so Osborn began investigating other storage facilities owned by Red Dot.
"Same exact things. Gate is not secure, secure gate is broken gate is broken, no locked gates," Osborn says.
She says her research included facilities in nine states.
Facility after facility, the cases involved renters losing their belongings to thieves. At least in her case, Osborn says Red Dot didn't take any action. She says that's inexcusable.
"it's so embarrassing," she says. "if I was one of them, I would be so embarrassed. No wonder why they're hiding. No wonder why. Shame on them. My grandchildren will not see the things that were dear to me as a child, and that's wrong."
Over the past two weeks, FactFinder 12 sent numerous emails, contacted the company through its website,left several messages over the phone, and even called a number believed to belong to the company's founder.
The company said it would call back, but as of Oct. 16, it hasn't done so and no one returned the messages from FactFinder 12 investigator Alex Flippin.
Before renting a storage unit, you should check its rating with the Better Business Bureau, look for reviews, and, police say, choose a facility that has working security cameras, a working gate and on-site staff.