When thieves busted into Curtis Miles' storage locker, they didn't just steal his power tools, they robbed him of his passion.
"Now I can't help people who need it, they lose out,” Miles said.
Who are they?
People confined to wheelchairs who can't afford ramps to roll into their own homes. Miles builds them from the ground up for free as part of the Texas Ramp Project.
But not anymore.
"All the materials I had were donated material and all the workers are volunteers,” said Miles. “Without the tools I can't get the volunteers," he said.
Turns out, Miles isn't the only burglary victim at the Public Storage Facility at 9030 North Freeway. An I-Team review of Houston Police Department records reveals it’s one of the top burglary hot spots in the city, with 31 cases over the past three years.
“I had no idea," Miles said.
But not only did the customer have no idea, neither did an employee running the office on the day the I-Team visited.
I-Team: "What's going on here?”
Storage worker: “I have no idea.”
I-Team: “Doesn't sound like you're protecting people's property?”
Storage worker: “I'm doing the best I can."
Where are the other popular storage lots for thieves?
The I-Team analyzed more than a thousand Houston police crime reports over the past three years. Storage facilities at 13300 Hempstead Highway, 5151 S. Shaver Street, and 11800 Airline Drive all have had 20 burglaries or more.
That's not all the I-Team found at the Airline Drive facility. Our cameras spotted doors left wide open, fences unsecured, and a front gate where you can drive right on through—no security code required, no questions asked.
But when we tried to get some answers-
Storage worker: "We need you to leave.”
I-Team: “That's it? That's all you have to say? Why wouldn't you address that? Isn't that an important issue for you all?”
Management again told us to leave, and shut the office door.
So where's the storage lot with the most break-ins in the entire city limits?
It’s a Public Storage facility at 9710 Plainfield Road in Southwest Houston.
"Big headache," said Steven Feinman.
Feinman learned the hard way after crooks took two high-priced bikes and many high-end tools. He said he had a bad vibe about the business from the get-go.
“I noticed the cameras around and so I asked about them,” Feinman said about the employee at the storage facility, “and she said 'oh those don't work.’”
“And I said 'they don't work ever? They don' work today?’ And she says ‘as long as I've worked here they haven't,’" Feinman said.
But about to start a new job in another state, Feinman says his back was against the wall.
"I got a truck full of stuff, I got a flight leaving next morning, I have to put it somewhere," he said.
But within a year from signing the contract, Feinman was out a whopping $15,000.
“Gone," Feinman said.
Like the other places, no one wanted to talk about all the burglaries.
I-Team: “Guess what? You have more than anywhere in the city. Did you have any idea?”
Public Storage Employee: “I actually can't talk to media at all."
Instead, the employee referred us to Public Storage headquarters, where Chief Operating Officer Shawn Weidmann told us:
“We take security very seriously at all of our facilities, but it is our policy not to comment on specific crime reports.”
But that's of little help to this consumer, who will likely never see his stuff again.
"You almost think 'what am I paying you for?’ I could leave it on the corner if I wanted it to get stolen," Feinman said.
The I-Team attempted to crunch the numbers for storage facilities outside the Houston city limits, but Harris County officials do not keep crime data by business type.