Break in at the RV Storage Yard

Broken glass

Broken glass

Well, today wasn’t a good day. We got a call at about 11:00 am, from our storage yard out in the Inland Empire.

Somebody broke into their “secure” facility and then broke into some RV’s. Our three month old RV was one of them.

Laura and I made the long, nervous drive out to Bloomington, CA. It’s about an hour drive from Redondo Beach, where we live. All sorts of bad things were going through my mind. What did they break to get in? What would be missing? TVs? DVD/Stereo Head Unit? Tools?

Was there going to be vandalism? Spray painted graffiti? Cut furniture? Knifed tires?

We finally got there. The front office was locked up, so we drove to the back, just as a San Bernardino Sheriff’s car was driving up. I input the code for the Deputy to get in. There was another Deputy already there, along with the manager.

As we approached our coach, we saw that the door was side open, and the screen door had a big rip in it. The window was broken out. There was broken tinted glass all over the ground, and on the steps leading into the coach.

Window broken out

Window broken out

To my great surprise, I couldn’t find anything missing in the coach, and other than the door, nothing was damaged. The main TV was pulled out (it slides out towards the middle of the coach so you can watch it when the slide is in).

TV pulled out, but not removed

TV pulled out, but not removed

It’s not a small job to take the TV off of it’s mounting….in fact it night be impossible with the slide in. It appears to be OK. The Head Unit for the DVD player was there, even though it can be removed from the dashboard with the push of a button. The smaller TV in the bedroom was still there as well. Lots of cupboards were open, and there were some things sitting on the couch, such as a small pair of binoculars and the first aid kit, but nothing appears to be missing.

Items dumped on couch

Items dumped on couch

Laura and I called the yard manager to find out where he was, and we met him back at the office. We told him that nothing was missing. He said it was the same for almost everybody else. I asked how many coaches got broken into, and he said 19! When we signed up with these guys, part of their selling point was that somebody was on site 24/7. Turned out to be less than accurate.

One positive thing about the day was that we were able to meet some other nice folks who were victims. We started to hear about other problems that have happened at this “secure” yard, including the theft of three trucks back in February.

We spent some time with a Deputy as he took pictures of our coach and took a report.

The people who did the burglaries were apparently a man and a woman….they were scared out of the area when a trucker arrived at about three in the morning and chased them away. Surveillance video appears to bear that out. They attempted to steal two TVs, but couldn’t get them over the fence, so they were just left there. One man we talked to lost a GoPro camera, and a new bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin (my favorite!). The bottle of gin was found a little ways from this guy’s coach, opened. Somebody drank about a third of it. The deputy dusted it for fingerprints, and found some. It was interesting watching him do that.

One of the victims said that he saw two people who fit the description behind the facility, living in a lean-to. Laura and I drove back there and saw what appears to be a homeless encampment right behind the facility. I called the yard manager and told him, and suggested that they had better have somebody watching the yard at night tonight.

As of right now, there are a bunch of RVs at the yard that are wide open. Some of the owners live farther away than we do (one is in Oregon). Laura and I were able to get ours closed up. We went to Home Depot and picked up a couple pieces of peg board and some carriage bolts and nuts. We used those to close the window. Somebody could break through that with a hammer, but it would be difficult and noisy, so hopefully we will be OK until we can get the window replaced. I thought about putting something more substantial in like plywood, but If somebody is going to break in again, I’d rather have them break out the peg board than break another window. I removed the head unit for the DVD/Stereo player and brought it home. There is nothing else of value in the coach that is easy to remove.

The claim is already called in to our insurance company. We will probably go after the storage yard for the deductible. Yeah, we signed a contract that said they weren’t “responsible” for losses, but they are selling security, and California courts take a dim view of that sort of thing….most of the victims we talked to there are going to do the same thing. If this yard loses 19 customers, it’s going to be a big hit for them, so I suspect they will be reasonable. We’ll see.

Not sure what the repair will entail. This is one of the newer flush mount windows. I’m thinking that a new assembly from Forest River will need to be ordered to fix this. The screen door will need to be fixed as well.

We are going on a trip next week, so we will be doing it with the pegboard on the window. Such is life. We’ll have the dealer fix it when we get back.

This wasn’t fun, but it could have been a lot worse.


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11 thoughts on “Break in at the RV Storage Yard

  1. If the storage yard promised live, on-site security 24/7, and you paid for it — and if they didn’t actually provide it, then you and the other RVers may well have a fraud case, for actual damages, and likely punitive damages.

    • Sherry Edwards

      We had same thing here in Idaho our 5th wheel was broken into but we lost ALOT
      Brand new Generator that we only started it to see it ran .
      My lap top lots of blankets and the whole suround sound stereo they ripped it out of walls
      Took DVD player all stereo componants They tried to get Tv but it was bolted to fireplace lots of finger prints the local police did nothing hand us a blank piece of paper and said fill it out
      They Broke out a window not only broke it out ripped it out of window frame .
      We were headed out for a weekend and discovered this when we hooked up the 5th wheel
      Cops said they would be back that night to get more I said not from us we brought it home then to camping world which they had it the whole summer sad for us as were in Idaho you dont get to use it every month .
      Any how at least you didnt lose alot we are now at a 24/7 camera security place but I still to this day have to do a drive around to see if all windows are ok such a uneasy feeling once youve been broken in to Good Luck

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  5. Bob – I am very sorry to hear about your break-in and glad that it was not worse. I have an unrelated question I hope you might address – I see you tie your fridge closed. Has it opened as you have gone down the road..? or was that installed by the manufacturer..? many thanks for your response and again sorry for your break-in. just glad you were not there/involved/hurt/ everything else is stuff. Thanks! gail of winecoastersblog

    • Bob

      The residential fridge was standard equipment on our Georgetown 328TS. There are hooks on either side of the fridge and freezer doors for bungie cords which came with the coach. We put those on before we drive off. No problems so far. Inside the fridge I make sure that things are either in the doors or in bins if they are heavy, so they don’t slam around inside. I don’t think I’d like to drive around without the cords in place.

      • Hi Bob thanks for your note. We have a residential fridge as well – Do not think I have ever loved an appliance so much – unless I start discussing the washer and dryer in the coach. Hope you are getting through your break in issues ok.

  6. john public

    this must be secure rv storage in Bloomington ca
    we used to store our rv and boat there…..bait and switch sale tactics…..once we were in, three months later they jacked up our rate saying it was not up to “market” rates
    we also had our rv hit by another tenant….the cameras were not working
    We referred many folks to them…..hell no never again

    • Bob

      Not sure what we are going to do yet. Our coach has been at the dealership waiting for a replacement window from Forest River for about a month now. Georgetown buys the doors as a unit with the window in it, so they are having to get a spare window from the door manufacturer. What a pain in the neck. You would think Forest River would stock these. If you are going to break into an RV and don’t know how to pick the lock, taking out this window is the easiest way to get in, so you know somebody else has had this problem……

  7. I used to keep our travel trailer at a storage facility, and we rented a large storage unit also. In the storage unit, we had a brand new boat/motor/trailer, along with a bunch of equipment. The facility had LOTS of cameras, and someone living in a trailer in the middle of the compound.

    We got the dreaded phone call, only to discover dozens of padlocks had been cut off the night before. They stole my pressure washer, an old 32″ tube TV that I couldn’t give away, and a handcart that the TV was on. The new Yamaha boat motor was worth $14K, and they had pulled out all the Snap-On tools I had stowed in the boat, yet they didn’t take any of that.

    The facility owner said they broke into the back personnel gate, used a pole to push all the cameras straight up in the air, and quietly cut locks off with large bolt cutters. Everything was hand carried out the back gate, which is about 36″ wide. That limited what they took.

    I’m in FL, and the written/signed agreement waives ALL losses. We got nothing, and going to court wouldn’t have made a difference. Sucks, but that’s why they have us sign it, and why insurance companies do sell optional insurance for storage units.

    Since then, we bought a house with more property, which not only has enough room for our current travel trailer, but we have put a deposit on a 328TS, which is how I found your website!

    I did have a popup camper stolen years ago from beside my house while we were working.
    From that lesson, I now have a separate insurance policy for our travel trailer, though not actually required as the tow vehicle’s insurance covers it while being towed.

    My take away from your experience is to check my deductible AND add an alarm system to the new motorhome if we do indeed buy it this week. It wouldn’t have helped a smash and grab, but would prevent someone from having time to dig through all the cabinets. I really do empathize with your experience. I felt really violated when my popup camper was stolen, and again when the storage unit was raided. I hate thieves.

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