Public Storage facility in Petaluma, where up to $100,000 of art was stolen, burglarized again
Larry Reed was alarmed by what he read in the newspaper, and his concern only grew when he got to his storage unit.
On Thursday, Reed read a story in The Press Democrat about a Windsor couple whose Petaluma storage unit had been burglarized. The couple, Kristina and Christian Fogliani, said they lost up to $100,000 in original artwork in the break-in.
Reed had a storage unit with the same company, Public Storage, on Commerce Street. After reading the article, he rushed down to his storage unit Thursday morning and his fears were confirmed: The metal hasp on the door had been cut and his unit had been “kind of ransacked,” he said.
“I could get the door open a little bit only to see that boxes were kind of strewn about,” he said.
Reed hasn’t yet had a chance to make an inventory of the stolen items, but he said a box of family silver was taken, along with an antique clock.
“They left all my family memorabilia. They didn’t take that, so I was feeling kind of relieved,” he said.
Doug Silva, whose unit at Public Storage was robbed last year, wasn’t so lucky. He lost a trunk of WWII memorabilia from his father, who served in the war, along with countless other pieces of family memorabilia and local history he had collected over the years.
“I had old Petaluma stuff from the 1800s that was stolen,” he said. “To have all the stuff you collected over all that time stolen, it makes you furious.”
Silva was reunited with one particularly precious stolen item: his parents’ wedding photo, taken in 1955, one of the only photographs he had of them. An acquaintance found the photo on the ground as she was bringing in her trash can, and returned it to Silva after learning about his loss from a mutual friend.
But nearly a year later, the break-in hasn’t been solved, and Silva says Public Storage hasn’t provided much help.
“They don’t want to be bothered. They don’t want to help. They’re just terrible,” he said. “The only thing they care about is their dollar bills.”
Representatives for Public Storage did not return a request for comment Friday.
In the past year, there have been six break-ins at the Public Storage location on Commerce Street and an adjacent facility on Transport Way, said Petaluma Police Lt. Tim Lyons. None have been solved.
Part of the difficulty, Lyons said, is that police don’t know when the break-ins occurred, only when they were discovered. That makes it difficult to search through security camera footage, because police don’t know which dates to review.
Reed had last been to his unit a month before he discovered the break-in, and the Foglianis were last there in March, Lyons said. Petaluma police are now working with Public Storage to try to identify the culprits.
“They don’t suspect any employees because they cancel all employees’ access when they’re let go or fired,” he said.
Reed said Public Storage employees were helpful when he told them about the break-in, and he doesn’t blame the company for the theft.
“They tell you when you’re renting those things, don’t put valuable things in there,” he said. “If I get them back, great. If I end up losing some of those items, it’s probably going to be written off as a loss.”
You can reach Staff Writer Andrew Beale at 707-521-5205 or email@example.com. On Twitter @iambeale.