Thieves help selves to storage unit contents

By Brian Sweeney
A number of recent break-ins at area businesses are under investigation by state police at Margaretville.

The largest incident occurred last week in Clovesville where thieves broke into 20 self-storage units owned by Halcott Center residents Pete and Nancy Ballard.

Mrs. Ballard said she was alerted to the problem on the afternoon of March 5 when one of the renters reported that her storage unit had been forcibly entered.
The owners notified state police and the investigation revealed that the intruders had broken into 20 of the 40 self-storage units owned by the Ballards.

Mrs. Ballard said the thieves removed some of the locks with bolt-cutters and apparently utilized power tools to saw through the hard steel of the larger the locks.

The owner said that storage units of various sizes were broken into. Mrs. Ballard said the intruders tried to avoid detection by breaking into the facility’s less visible units.

After learning about the break-ins, Mrs. Ballard said the storage unit renters had to be notified of the incident. She said that each individual renter will need to file a report with state police detailing items that they determined to be missing.

Determining value
State Police Investigator Alan Ferrara said that it’s still too early to place a value on the stolen goods, because many of the renters don’t stop at the units on a regular basis.
“People are still doing inventory,” Investigator Ferrara explained. “Some of the units hadn’t been checked in a year.”

Mrs. Ballard said one of the renters told her they had visited the units around 11 a.m. on Sunday and that nothing was amiss. There were no signs of problems until Tuesday’s discovery.
The Ballards have owned the storage unit complex for nearly 10 years and this is the first incident of this type, Mrs. Ballard said.

Now and Then Video owners Art and Char DeBari reported to state police on the morning of March 6 that their Margaretville store had been broken into since the previous evening. The owners said that an underdetermined amount of change had been taken from a donation jar earmarked for the Heart of the Catskills Humane Society.

Third case
State police said that entry into the video store had been gained through forcible entry.
Another break-in was recently reported at LaCabana Mexican restaurant in Fleischmanns. State police said that an unknown amount of cash appeared to be the only thing missing.
Investigator Ferrara said that leads are being followed up in each case. He did not give an indication of whether the break-ins may be related.