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Victims of storage unit break-ins need insurance to recoup losses

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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

Victims of a recent string of break-ins at Charleston County storage facilities may be able to recoup their losses if they have insurance on the stolen items, according to a local attorney.

The storage places that were targeted had gates, security cameras and fences.

But that did not stop the burglars from getting in.

They cut the chain link fences surrounding the buildings.

At Public Storage on Folly Road, Charleston Police say 118 units were broken into yesterday morning, and the thieves got away with a utility trailer, tools and other stuff.

Investigators say 34 locks were cut off or latches were open at Island Storage on Maybank Highway last week.

Ten units were broken into at American Storage on Savannah highway back in April.

Charleston attorney John Harrell says the burden is on the renter to buy insurance for the items in the unit.

"They have the right to buy insurance in advance of putting their things in a storage facility,” Harrell said.

Harrell says anyone renting a storage unit has to sign a written contract.

That contract must state the business does not provide insurance to protect the renter's personal property.

Harrell says if there's a theft from a unit, the storage facility is responsible only if there's neglect on their part.

He says one example would be if the business unlocks the gate themselves.

"Maybe they've done something like leave the gate open or broken,” Harrell explained. "They have the duty to keep the place locked down, but they do not have the duty to secure your things in the unit."

That was food for thought for one guy we spoke with who rents a storage unit on Johns Island.

"If you can get something inexpensive like renter's insurance it's worth it. These places aren't that hard to keep people out,” Wilson Perkins said.

Local insurance agent Leslie Phinney said you need to shop around for renters insurance for storage units.

She says not all companies offer it.

The price will depend on the dollar amount of the items in your unit.

Police haven't said if any of these burglaries are connected.

No arrests have been made.

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