Published: Jun 18, 2013 4:54 PM EDT
Updated: Jun 19, 2013 11:00 AM EDT

CAPE CORAL, Fla. - The very place a family paid to keep their belongings safe became the target of crime. Someone swiped thousands of dollars worth of items out of a Cape Coral storage facility

Despite keypad entrances, someone was still able to behind the gates at A1 Shelters Self Storage and steal a families sense of security. 

A strange lock on the door was an immediate warning sign to Dee Dee Vertichio and her family. Her husband found out "Someone else had chopped our lock off, and put their own on, after robbing us." That made it appear as through nothing was missing inside their unit off Pine Island Road. 

"They took their razor blade and they cut sides of boxes, and just pulled them open so they could see whats inside," she said. Someone, she says, swiped $3,500 dollars worth of precious items, tools, ceramics, and personal information. "It's horrifying because they went through my bank statements, my private pictures," she said. 

But the crooks also made off with memories. "It broke my heart because these are things I've had all my life," said daughter Alex Jaycox. 

Vertichio says A1 doesn't have security cameras, but she's reported everything to police. 

"No fence here. They say you can't get in unless you have a code, but pretty much you can just drive in behind everybody that's already opened the gate," Vertichio said. 

The Lee County Sheriff's Office says when choosing a storage facility, it's best to do your homework. Some things to consider: where are the security cameras? Is there a fence circling the entire property? It also suggests to keep your unit closed as much as possible to avoid prying eyes.

"You should get some renters insurance because we don't have renters insurance so there's no coverage," Vertichio said. 

The family says they'll be moving their items to a new storage unit facility by the end of the week. 

A1 Shelters Self-Storage General Manager Anna Edmonson tells WINK News they've been in business for 40 years, and have never had a problem with break-ins. She says they jumped in to help the family after the crime, and says people are asked to lock their own units, and be responsible for their own gate codes.