Storage unit, fitness gym targets for theft ring

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A self storage unit and a fitness gym were both prime targets for a three-man theft ring operating on either end of Mecklenburg County.

The break-in at the storage unity near I-85 and I-485 in Northeast Mecklenburg happened at 4:30AM. Two men covered from head to toe, walked up and cut the lock to a gate, while a third man backed a late model large sedan in position.

Minutes later, they've managed to break into storage units, and are seen on surveillance video large flat screen TV's. One was placed in the trunk, two more on the back seat.

At daylight, management discovered the break-in. It wasn't just one or two units disturbed. These crooks hit 74 units by cutting right through the aluminum doors.

How long did it take to cut into 74 units?

Detective Marty Cuthbertson says, "I think it would take some period of time to do it-- a couple of hours. (They) had free reign to scrounge around and look through the whole complex."

And they did it like pros, despite knowing the surveillance cameras were present, they simply covered up like professional thieves.

"Very difficult to tell whether they were black or white," says Det. Cuthbertson, "because they had masks over their faces and they had camouflage clothing as well."

Days later, 20 miles away, in the middle of the night, the same bunch hit a fitness club in Steele Creek.

Still surveillance pictures show them in the same car as they poke around the gym taking things they can easily sell on the street.

But because they're well disguised again, Detective Cuthbertson believes the car is the key to stopping them before they do it again.

"We're hoping just seeing the vehicle, someone will see it and make an I-D and will say 'hey these are the individuals that were driving and operating this car.'"

If you can help, call Crimestoppers in Charlotte at (704) 334-1600. You don't have to leave your name and could earn a reward of $1,000.

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