UPDATE - Crime Stoppers: Self-storage burglar switches locks
This week, Chattanooga Police are looking for a suspect they are calling "a crafty burglar." He has his entire scheme planned before he rents a unit at a local storage facility. His latest stop was in Hixson.
UPDATE: Thanks to a tip from an alert Crime Stoppers viewer, 25-year old Chase Singleton was identified, arrested, and charged with theft from storage units. It is a case we brought you in early February in which the crook would cut padlocks, loot the compartment, then secure the door with a new padlock so as not to arouse suspicion.
The story does not end there. His capture has led to a multi-state investigation turning up 40 more suspects and the recovery of hundreds of pieces of stolen property. "We've got an individual who's doing something that might be considered petty," explained Chattanooga Police Officer Mark Frazer, "but, by breaking open this case, we broke open multiple cases. This, like I mentioned, will probably have some federal indictments that might be coming down the pipe on this."
The investigation continues and the thefts cover numerous jurisdictions locally and may include other states.. The Crime Stoppers tipster has already collected a big cash reward.
It is just amazing what one can come up with if they do not have to worry about a regular 9-to-5 job. If the guy we are looking for were your favorite movie criminal, you may applaud his methods. But, this is real life.
"This guy devised a pretty creative way of taking your things from you," Chattanooga Police Officer Mark Frazer began. Our photos come from surveillance video at a Hixson Pike self-storage facility. The bad guy rented a unit. "And during the wee hours of the morning, he goes in with locks that he is purchased, cuts your locks off of your storage unit, and replaces it with his own," Officer Frazer explained.
Knowing most people do not check in frequently, he got away with the crime for a while. "We have a situation where an individual finally went to the storage unit to check the lock," said Frazer. "They realized their key no longer worked in the lock."
Turns out, six units in the same building were hit. Officers arrived at the pictures of the suspect by cross-referencing facility entrances and key pad entries. "By using that, we are able to narrow down the time frame in which the burglaries occurred and allowed us to pinpoint this individual on film," said Frazer. "The pictures are decent and I think if you know this person you can identify pretty easily."
Take a good look at the photos. If you know the suspect or someone he may be working with, let us know, collect your reward cash, get his plan halted before he moves to another storage facility. "If the criminal element, especially this individual, spent half the time and energy focusing on world problems, we might be in a better place," Frazer added. "But, he decided to use his time to craft up devious ways of taking things from people who earned them."
If you know anything, call Crime Stoppers: 698-3333
We have up to $1,000 reward waiting and he will never know you turned him in because we will never ask for your name. If you get voice mail, leave a way for Officer Frazer to get back with you.
If you rent a storage unit, it might not be a bad idea to check on it and your lock, soon. This guy is still on the loose.