Santa Barbara – Like the late comic George Carlin, most of us are in need of a secure place to put our “stuff,” and turn to commercial storage units to store personal property “too valuable” to discard. We lock the doors to our storage units confident that our “stuff” is safe and sound.
That sense of security may not always be justified, as evidenced by the September 18th arrests of James Birchim and Michael Muneio, both 35-year-old residents of Goleta who were apprehended pursuant to a security camera video posted on Facebook by a storage locker lessee, whose belongings had been reported stolen ten days prior. According to Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Kelly Hoover, the video depicted “a white Chevrolet Silverado extended cab pick-up truck” arriving empty at OK Storage in Goleta and departing a short time later “full of property.”
When the victim posted the surveillance video on Facebook, citizen reports pointed to Birchim and Muneio as the suspects, which led to SBSD detectives obtaining and serving a search warrant on Birchim’s Goleta residence. Inside the home, deputies discovered “several assault rifles, a handgun, high-capacity magazines, methamphetamine, burglary tools, lock picks, a grenade launcher, nunchakus, cane swords, brass knuckles, and stolen musical equipment.” Additional stolen property was located following a search of Muneio’s truck, earning both men a trip to Santa Barbara County Jail where they were booked on multiple charges of illegal weapons possession and burglary, with Muneio’s bail set at $20,000 and Birchim’s bail set at $500,000.
Muneio was also arrested this year on June 8th for burglary, and on March 13th for possession of drug paraphernalia.
According to Hoover, “The suspects did this in a way that would maybe go undetected” with storage unit locks “picked and reset.”
It might be time to buy a better lock…
Photos: Courtesy Santa Barbara County Jail Booking