Wednesday afternoon, Kevin Cornett received a phone call nobody wants to receive: thieves had broken into his rented storage unit at Faraon Street Mini Storage in St. Joseph, Missoui, along with several others, and ransacked it.
While this news would upset anyone, for Cornett, it meant more than just the loss of his belongings.
“My son is currently stationed in Afghanistan, so everything of his is in there,” Cornett said. “And they got quite a bit of his stuff.”
Cornett’s son, Darrell Cornett, has been serving in the military for 17 years and left for Afghanistan at the beginning of this year. His father said that the thieves would have realized at some point that his son is in the Air Force.
“There was one big tub with eight or ten pairs of his uniforms, so at some point, I’m sure they figured out he was either military or a vet,” Cornett said.
Cornett said it’s this show of disrespect that really angered him.
“That’s what really upset me, he has to deal with this 7,500 miles away and I’ve been getting texts from him on and off for the last two days asking me, ‘Did you see this item or did you see that item?’ So we’re not even sure what all is actually missing,” Cornett said.
Two days later, his storage unit was broken into again. Cornett said he “(wasn’t) sure whether to laugh or to cry” when he heard the news Saturday morning. Although signs around the storage units warn thieves of CCTV surveillance, there is no direct footage of Cornett’s unit, something he said he had been unaware of. A manager at Faraon Street Mini Storage said they don’t advertise the units as a gated facility and have no way of surveilling all units.
To heighten his chances of finding his son’s belongings and making it harder for the thieves to sell, Cornett posted about his experience in a Facebook crime watch group. The response overwhelmed him.
“I put that on Facebook not having any idea of the response I was going to get,” Cornett said. “It was actually overwhelming: the comments and the sympathy and the people sharing it and getting it out there. So, hopefully, it makes things a little harder for these people who are stealing, but it absolutely floored me and my son also.”
Cornett said it’s this Facebook post that got him in trouble with the owner of his storage unit. He said he received a phone call from the owner Saturday afternoon, telling him to take his things and leave — an added blow after being a theft victim twice in one week, he said.
A manager at Faraon Street Mini Storage could not comment on the business owner’s thoughts about the Facebook post but stressed that they merely told him that if he wanted a more secure place, he should move to a gated facility.
Cornett said he wishes that people would watch out more and keep an eye on their neighborhoods.
“Pretty much anywhere, you need to be aware of what’s going on around you,” Cornett said. “Pay attention to what’s going on in your neighborhood. Don’t necessarily try to confront the people, but get some information and call the police. We’ve all got to step up and help.”
©2018 the St. Joseph News-Press (St. Joseph, Mo.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.