My uncle's personal collection of fine artwork was stolen out of American Self Storage in Union City, New Jersey in July of 2012. 28 very large oil paintings somehow vanished from an alleged 24/7 secured storage facility. Ostor Glorig was a professional artist who created these beautiful oil paintings and now his life's work is gone. Many of them during his career displayed in several art galleries and exhibitions. When he suffered a stroke a few years ago, I was forced to put him in a nursing home and all of his personal belongings into storage. I chose American Self Storage, one of the biggest mistakes of my life. The theft of his paintings is deeply personal. My Uncle Ostor cared for me like I was his own. Sadly he passed away last year, 2011, and his paintings were all I had left of his memory. [continued below]....
..... He was a kind, honest, and talented man and it is truly disturbing to know that his masterpieces are now gone and in the hands of lowly thieves. Ironically, one of the paintings that still remained in my unit was of the Virgin Mary and the baby Jesus. (see attached)
FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY
I had a false sense of security that my belongings would be safe and secure under the care of American Self Storage. Their website advertises that each unit is individually alarmed, climate controlled, and monitored by a state of the art security system; all complete LIES. This is a dirty facility with very
little security, and the only climate control being in the main office. The storage unit ceilings are basically covered with the equivalent of chicken wire you can easily see through. Attached are pictures of my roof top with a dirty water bottle on top and another of the roof which shows it being tampered with. In addition, they do not require any ID when signing in or out of the facility, and there is no escort for you to your unit. During the criminal investigation, management, Mr. Diamond, told authorities they only had 10 days worth of video footage. However, Bill Matuszak (from Adaptive Methods Inc. their independent security company) mentioned they should have had 3 to 5 months worth of footage. Also they conveniently told authorities that they were in the process of upgrading their security equipment, coincidentally right after this crime had occurred. Attached is a picture of the new monitors being installed on Aug 4, 2012 the day I took the rest of my belongings out of the unit.
BURGLARY AT AMERICAN SELF STORAGE
To say American Self Storage mishandled this situation would be an extreme understatement. In fact, I would describe it as negligent and downright condescending. In July of 2012, I was called by American Self Storage to check my storage unit as there was a fire next door and the fire department had to enter the building due to heavy smoke. Several units on the first floor (where mine was located) had to be opened, but I was told that mine was not one of them.
When I arrived with my boyfriend to investigate, I noticed that all the units next to and directly across from mine had no locks on them and some of them were empty. (see attached picture) There was also a power cord hanging directly over the top of my unit plugged into an air purifier on the ground, most likely to remove the smoke from the air. (see attached picture)
I tried opening the lock on my unit and noticed immediately that it was not mine, the key would not work. Someone else had put another lock on there. The clerk (Kimberly) angrily insisted that this
was my lock, I told her it was not. She mentioned we could use one of their ladders to climb over the top of the unit to check it out, go home and get the key, or she could have one of the other employees cut the lock and we could buy a new one from them. I choose to have them cut the lock and bought a new one.
To my dismay, when I checked my unit, my uncle's paintings were gone, 28 in total. Only 2 of his paintings remained. I immediately called the police and while waiting for them, I demanded to speak
to the manager, but Kimberly told me she was unavailable because it was a weekend. She was actually rolling her eyes and appeared to be amused by the whole situation and my distress. Finally, I did get to speak to Lenora the Manager of American Self Storage in Union City, NJ. We spoke for about 2 minutes and she basically told me we cannot help you.
The following week, I tried to contact the main headquarters by email and phone. However, after several attempts to contact them, I was finally told in person that management/ownership would not acknowledge me until they saw my police report.
I could believe this is the way they treat loyal and reliable customers who have always paid all their fees on time. This is how they treat their customers?
Also I would like to point out that the Union City Police dept. sent me a report that showed there were 2 other reported thefts at American Self Storage one on 3/31/12 and the other on 6/6/12. So that makes 3x thefts in less than 6 months.
AMERICAN SELF STORAGE DOES NOT CARE ABOUT YOU OR YOUR BELONGINGS
I had been a loyal paying customer for almost 6 1/2 years spending nearly $14,000 in rent at American Self Storage until my unit was burglarized in July of 2012. I had always paid on time and a few times had paid for an entire year in advance.
I had even paid for insurance through the Diamond insurance company which I later learned are the same owners of American Self Storage. They will not honor this insurance since they are not
considering this a theft even though a different lock was put on my unit and in the small print paintings are not covered.
American Self Storage does not care about their customers or their belongings. They do a great job of collecting and counting their money religiously, but do a very poor job of keeping your belongings safe and treating their customers with respect. They have never acknowledged my loyal patronage nor have they expressed any condolences for my loss.
American Self Storage knows what happened to my belongings and refuses to help. They cannot get away with this. My uncle's paintings are priceless to me and I will continue to do everything in
my power to have them returned to me.
All paintings were personally signed by Ostor Glorig and are registered with local authorities and now with the FBI.
If anyone has any information regarding these stolen paintings, please contact the Union City Police Department (201) 348-5800 or the FBI art crime team. Attached are 2 of the 28 oil paintings stolen from my unit. One of Joe DiMaggio (copyrighted with the USPTO) and Sophia Loren.