Traverse City Record-Eagle

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May 11, 2011

Williamsburg storage units ransacked

Storage burglary could be linked to other burglaries

TRAVERSE CITY — Scott Long spent about six hours cleaning his self-storage unit after thieves ransacked it, took several small items, broke several more and left behind a mess.

Thieves appeared to go through all of the units at Williamsburg Self Storage on East M-72 sometime last week, either by cutting locks or breaking through interior walls, Long said. Just about everyone had a similar story, Long said.

"Bags ripped open, boxes turned over, stuff dumped out of the file cabinet drawers," Long said. "They just trashed it."

Two Gaylord men recently were arrested and linked to a rash of similar burglaries in northern Michigan, and Long and other Williamsburg Self Storage customers are waiting to learn if they're all linked.

Police caught the suspects May 6, as they broke into a storage business in Gaylord, said Gaylord City Police Chief Joe FitzGerald. They admitted to burglarizing other such businesses elsewhere, including a couple in Grand Traverse County.

"We recovered quite a bit of property, thousands of dollars worth of stuff," FitzGerald said. "There's possibly two or three more people involved. We're working with the other areas to get warrants and identify the other sites."

FitzGerald declined to identify the suspects but expects to wrap the investigation in a couple of days. More information will be forthcoming then, he said.

Michigan State Police investigated the Williamsburg burglary but declined to comment because it remains under investigation.

Long lost a silver coin collection in the theft, but said it could have been worse.

"I turned out to be lucky," he said. "I had all my hunting guns in there and took them out the Saturday before."

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