Posted on March 11, 2013 at 5:51 AM
Monday, Mar 11 at 11:23 AM
AUSTIN -- Austin firefighters and police are investigating a fire at Lone Star Self Storage off Ben White Boulevard in South Austin.
Firefighters responded to a 911 call of smoke around 3 a.m. Monday. Crews arrived to find three storage units at the complex on fire. Once they knocked out the flames, firefighters discovered the units, along with 22 others, had been burglarized.
Owner, Jerry Boswell, is pleading for answers.
"Why would they set one on fire? That's just vicious," said Boswell.
Boswell bought the storage complex in 1993. He says he installed fencing with barbed wire, a secured, gated entrance and surveillance cameras around the complex.
Detectives don’t yet know how the burglars got inside.
"It's a lot of taking photographs, a lot of looking for fingerprints and things like that,” explained Austin Fire Department Capt. Andy Reardon. “[We’re] driving through the area to see if there are any [other] cameras.”
Boswell says one of the cameras at the front gate recently went out. He was looking at upgrading the entire system last week.
“I feel for those families,” said Boswell.
Detectives are blocking access to the storage complex while the investigation continues.
“We are keeping it closed down for right now until we can verify who's coming in, who's going out and make sure we get all the evidence collected, then we'll turn it back over to the owners,” said Capt. Reardon. “The main thing right now is making sure we collect all the pieces of evidence that we need to when we process it properly. From there we go ahead and we start looking around the area for surveillance footage and things like that to see what we can come up with.”
There are 365 units at Lone Star Self Storage. Police are asking anyone who may have information about the burglaries or the fire to call Crime Stoppers at (512) 472-TIPS.