Catching Thieves and Overnight "Guests"..

rhiphelps Registered User ✭✭
So obviously there is an issue with people sleeping in the units/facility at night (or during the day) and theft as well. I think it would be good to share some experiences so that we know some of the "signs" to look for out there. Here are a couple of my recent experiences:

1) On a walk through, a unit was found with a cylinder lock inserted backwards. The man occupying the unit had locked the unit from the inside... Pinched the butterfly closed and pushed the lock in, and opened the unit. The guy was evicted..

2) A few summers ago, a very professional middle aged woman rented a unit. After a series of break in complaints, we figured out what she was doing:
She would canvass the facility for padlock units. She then took pictures of those padlocks and went out and purchased the same looking locks. She then came back, cut the original locks, and replaced them with the look-a likes which she had the keys to. Over the course of the next year, we had people coming in complaining that their key wouldn't open their lock. The last man came in only 7 months ago. He hadn't been to his unit in a few years (typical). I went with him, and sure enough, the key wouldn't even go in. We cut the lock off, and he just about cried when he discovered that about 1/3 of his 10x10 unit had been ransacked and taken. Our solution: we religiously use security stickers on all padlock units and inspect the facility daily. (We also don't allow any padlocks anymore, only disc and cylinder locks)

3)A woman was living in her unit. We could have discovered it early had we noticed the painted (same color as the wall) extention cord that ran from the power outlet in the ceiling to her unit. 

4) A girl rented a unit and paid generally on time and then all of a sudden stopped. She was about to go to auction, so I did my best to try to contact her. Eventually, I checked the "who's in jail" website, and low and behold, there she was. Multiple felony counts: auto theft, possession of stolen items, possession of narcotic(s). That didn't exactly change anything in her case, but I rested better at night when her unit was sold (for almost $1200)..

5) Upon opening up, I went into the emergency stairwell. I was startled to say the least to find a man and a dog sleeping inside under the stairs. How the hell did he get in there?  When I asked him, he said that he was a tenant, and that he had got locked in accidentally. (This can actually happen if you go into this area of the facility and you are after hours, your code will not let you out)
I checked the camera work.. He was NOT a tenant. However, he helped a tenant move in the prior day. He remembered her access code. He entered the facility during access hours, walked straight back to the emergency stairwell, and closed the door. LIAR! Our solution: give any movers a temporary code, or change the tenant's code after "helpers" move them in.


  • khemnis
    khemnis Registered User ✭✭✭
    One of the things I teach my managers to do is to check the codes every day when they come in and watch codes periodically through out the day.  Anyone that regularly codes in right before close gets a mental note and we start checking video.    My facilities are entirely enclosed and 4 stories tall, so we have bathrooms on each floor.  We also notice a correlation between the tenants that do code in close to the end of day and the bathroom on their floor suddenly being messier and messier.  After watching a guy's code and seeing he was doing this, I rewound my camera footage and found him getting comfy in his unit and getting up in the middle of the night in his boxers and walking down the hallway to use the restroom a few times.  As soon as I have proof of what they're doing I give them one chance to keep their unit.  We have a talk and I explain the rules again and if they don't follow it, they are out.  I've only had to kick 2 people out because of it.

    We also do the mover's code.  We tell every new tenant about the mover's code and that we change it each day it's used.  We make sure they never give out their code unless they absolutely want to.

    We also use the stickers on the locks.  When we do a walk through, we check every single lock.  If there's no sticker we check to see when they moved in and if they are brand new we sticker the lock.  If they aren't, our policy is to immediately call the tenant to see if they changed the lock.
  • teamcapitola
    teamcapitola Registered User, Daily Operations Certified, Advanced Operations Certified, Administrator Certified, myHub Certified ✭✭✭✭✭

    We actually train staff to do the same things as Khemnis does...  Check the GATE logs every day. Look for invalid code attempts, codes that have been entered but the corresponding unit not opened etc.

    Flag any tenants who "lose" or replace their locks and request new stickers for it....

    We had a local "transient" who guessed a tenants code... he would come in and use the restroom then leave. We caught him because the unit associated with the code was never opened.

    After that we set our GATE system (PTI) to lock the keypad after 2 invalid code attempts. it resets after 2 minutes.

    Also, we installed a camera that faces the restroom doors... makes it easy to find the "shower tenants".

    It never hurts to be too diligent in this business.

  • rhiphelps
    rhiphelps Registered User ✭✭

    We check codes and camera every morning as Khemnis does as well. Same thing with movers code and stickers. One issue that wasn't detected easily was the homeless man who was forcing the lobby doors open and spending the night in there (good ol' magnetic doors!) and leaving behind ... nast.

    We called the police on him and have a "stay away order" on him. We also are applying for a "Letter of Agency" with our local police department. This gives the PD the right to arrest anyone who is trespassing on the property without a manager present.

  • jayjay
    jayjay Registered User, Daily Operations Certified, Advanced Operations Certified ✭✭✭
    I just discovered that a tenant is stealing off the managers apartment porch.  There is no doubt who it is.  I need to draft an eviction letter.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  • Orkocean
    Orkocean Registered User, Daily Operations Certified, Advanced Operations Certified, Administrator Certified, myHub Certified ✭✭✭✭✭
    Depends on your state for what the regulations require etc.. We avoided the eviction method here to ease some of our headaches and just did the standard lease termination letter that is in sitelink.
    CVSSSTORAGE Registered User, Daily Operations Certified ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2019
    @jayjay start with the lease termination letter and when the customer calls or comes in to discuss it, let them know you just want your unit back and them out. Say things like we have you on camera and would hate to get the law involved and usually that scares them away. As far as eviction process check your states laws

© 2018 SiteLink Software, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Terms of Use  |  Privacy Policy   |  Cookies Policy   |  Help  |  Contact Community Manager   |  Change Marketplace Ads