According to the latest estimates, the U.S. has more than 50,000 storage facilities, which is an incredible amount of space just for holding people’s personal possessions. In fact, that’s more than five times the number of Starbucks across the nation.
And each unit can hold something different, from clothes and shoes to collection items like classic cars or antique furniture.
Or even $12 million in art.
That’s right, a storage unit in Queens had somewhere around $12 million worth of art stored in it, with pieces pricing as high as $10,000.
Roughly 53% of art collections worldwide have over 500 pieces of artwork. Unfortunately for the owner, the majority of these pieces have been stolen due to the lack of security at the storage facility.
The stolen artwork included works from minimalist painter Frank Stella and French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
The owner, William Pordy, had returned to his unit on June 1 to obtain a painting he had wanted to give a friend’s daughter when he discovered that someone had cut the lock on his unit. They’d even replaced it with a new one to avoid detection.
The unit had been carefully picked clean of around 22 pieces of art, with the thief leaving empty cardboard boxes behind, Pordy told the police.
“They broke the locks and they stole everything, all my paintings. It’s awful.”
Pordy was mostly upset due to the monetary value of what was lost, having intended to sell the paintings himself. He hadn’t planned on keeping them in the unit forever.
“I’m upset because it’s worth a lot of money. Do you have $12 million? The point is that I had it and was going to sell them.”
Upon going over the facility records, detectives discovered that the storage area had been broken into on December 30 and that Prody had not been in the unit since October. Investigators are currently combing over all possible sell points for the art, including eBay, to see if there is a record of them being sold.
The thief appeared to have been a little choosy with their takings, having left five of the paintings behind.