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Columbia residents frustrated over lack of accountability following storage unit break-ins


Three Columbia residents are frustrated over the lack of accountability after their storage units were broken into in May.

David Paulsteinwand and his wife Penny said their storage unit at Target Masters was broken into earlier in the year in January. About two weeks ago, David Paulsteinwand said he and his sons went to his unit to get his washer and dryer, when the lock to his unit wouldn't open because it appeared to be compromised by a tool.

Paulsteinwand said he contacted management who was able to get the lock off, and noticed more of his belongings, which he and his wife shared for 43 years, including sentimental items were missing.

"I can't, I can't replace the things taken from our family's know, ashes and flowers we kept and you know that's the worst part, that's worse than anything we lost," Paulsteinwand said.

Nikayla Marteen faced a similar scenario on May 6.

Marteen said she went to her unit at Columbia Smart Storage, where she found a red "see managers" lock on her unit. Confused, Marteen said she asked management why she wasn't contacted by the facility when her unit was broken into, a question she said they were unable to answer.

According to Marteen, all of her boxes were torn into, as well as her fire pit, kitchen appliances, clothes and shoes. She said the only thing left were larger items, such as her headboard and dresser.

"The most frustrating thing about it is that I'm not getting any answers," Marteen said. "My dad's fishing dad has passed away and they're gone now and there's no way of retracing those or tracking them."

Marteen said she also contacted the facility to view the surveillance footage. She said she was told she'd need to wait for someone from management to get back to her, only to be told Tuesday afternoon that the cameras do not work.

The situation has become so frustrating to Marteen, she said she's considering suing the facility.

"They're just basically pushing it off on insurance to cover everything, they're not trying to take any responsibility for anything that has been missing," Marteen said.

ABC 17 News reached out to both facilities for comment.

In January, a couple reported $5,000 worth of items were stolen from their storage unit at Target Masters. ABC 17 News reached back out to the couple Tuesday evening, who said they never got their belongings back, nor heard back from Columbia Police.

However, they noted their insurance company gave them back the $5,000.

Paulsteinwand said he wants management to take more responsibility.

"They should be looking at this everyday for a while, they should be monitoring it...they should come out, walk through here once a day, maybe other day to maintain," Paulsteinwand said.

ABC 17 News reached out to CPD for comment.

According to Angi, it's recommended that people choose a well-lit facility with security cameras that is regularly inspected to keep their property safe.

Article Topic Follows: Crime

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Nia Hinson


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