Saturday, July 14, 2012

TV Show Blamed For Storage Facility Thefts

I have a confession to make. I'm hooked on A&E's "Storage Wars", the reality TV show featuring an eclectic cast of characters who travel around to auctions held at storage facilities where the contents of storage lockers leased by delinquent tenants are sold to the highest bidder. WRTV has a story about a rash of break-ins that have occurred at Indianapolis storage facilities. The owners blame the popularity of "Storage Wars" to the break-ins.

A show called "Storage Wars," featuring people bidding on abandoned storage units for the contents inside, debuted on cable TV a couple of years ago.
And people in the storage business said the show has touched off an epidemic of break-ins.
"Unfortunately, it's been a pandemic since the 'Storage Wars' shows came on the TV," said Ryan Prock of Dominion Realty, the management company that runs Access Storage.
Prock blames the program for showing people how to break into the units and creating a false impression of what they will find once inside.
"Everybody thinks there's going to be hidden treasure once they're in there," he said. "They think they (are) going to come out here, break into it and find a $15,000 to $20,000 item. And that's just not the case."
Break-ins at storage facilities have become a city-wide problem. And often, victims don't realize they've become victims until they visit the scene of the crime weeks later or they're notified by Metro police.
The cast members of "Storage Wars" were featured on an A&E special recently where they discussed the show's success. The cast members note one big downside to the show's success. They complained that their businesse have suffered because a lot more people are showing up for the auctions they attend and are bidding up the unit prices so high that it is making it more difficult to recover enough from the sale of the contents to recoup their investment. The cast members earn $10,000 an episode, which ain't bad. The one character I could never quite figure out was Barry Weiss, the "Collector", who rarely turns a profit on his purchases but always dons expensive clothing and drives a different vintage car on almost every episode. He apparently made his fortune in a wholesale fruit and vegetable business that he owned with his brother.


Paul K. Ogden said...

They each make $10K an episode, or combined make $10K an episode. I can't imagine the former.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Each cast member earns that amount, Paul.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Wow, not sure why. People so like being on TV you probably can find someone to do it for free. Of course, maybe their fee went up after they became popular.

Cato said...

It's trash television cheering on the decline of America and the bad fortunes of fellow Americans.

Shows such as this encourage a get-rich-quick mentality, wholly absent any requirement to educate oneself, create a useful innovation or fill a market need.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Paul, That's a fraction what professional actors are paid. The production costs for these type of shows is very low compared to a 30-minute show that has to pay writers, directors, stage hands, etc. along with much higher-paid professional actors. You have to keep in mind too that they are being filmed more than just that time spent at the auction held during each episode. They have to film out-takes for each episode and follow them as they seek out someone to appraise the noteworthy finds in the lockers they purchase. Each cast member probably provides at least 5 to 6 hours of time per episode. The low budget of reality shows makes it easy for them to turn a profit.

artfuggins said...

It may be trash tv but I love to watch it. I know it is sometimes staged but it is good escape entertainment.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Gary, I know they only get paid a fraction of what the professional actors get paid. That's why the networks love these reality shows. Still I wouldn't think you'd paid them any more than you had to and so many people want to be on TV, you probably can get reality "actors" to work for free.

On Fear Factor, they get people to do crazy stuff and in the end only one person, the winner, gets $50,000, which isn't much money considering what they have to go through.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Yes, but not everybody that wants to be on TV makes for good entertainment. Even reality TV stars require something a little more than the average joe off the street that will cause viewers to tune in.