TAUNTON, Mass. (WPRI) — Taunton police have a suspect in custody after firearms were stolen from a storage facility in the city.
Six guns were stolen from Compass Self Storage on Chandler Avenue earlier this month and another gun was stolen from the facility last month, according to police.
The owner said he went to his storage unit on Dec. 12 to get his Christmas decorations. He returned on Monday to find four handguns and two rifles were missing, which police said were valued at about $5,600.
Investigators said the doors leading into the storage unit were locked and did not appear to be tampered with, however, there was a thin mesh ceiling above the unit that had been peeled back, allowing access to the locker.
On Tuesday night, police arrested Patrick Richards, 52, of Taunton, on an unrelated charge. They said they expect to charge him with the firearm thefts in the coming days.
Eyewitness News obtained police reports that indicate several people, including the suspect, may have been living in their storage units. One woman allegedly told police she lived in her unit. Police said they observed a man sleeping on a mattress, couches, and a crock pot full of chicken soup in her unit.
The police reports indicate officers found one of the stolen guns and lots of stolen ammunition inside Richards’ storage unit. The other six stolen firearms remain missing.
Compass Self Storage Vice President of Operations Edward Hainrihar told Eyewitness News on Wednesday that the facility does not allow customers to live or sleep in their units and he was not currently aware of anyone doing so.
Hainrihar confirmed Richards is a customer and said he had been hired to do “maintenance work” in the past, though he could not say exactly what his jobs were.
Hainrihar said break-ins and thefts are “very uncommon” and the facility’s top priorities are safety and security. He said every customer has a gate access code and their own locks on their units.