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.
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).
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.
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.