86ºF

Retired NASA astronaut has space memorabilia stolen from storage facility near Galleria area

HOUSTON – More than two dozen storage units were broken into in at the Public Storage near the Galleria, according to investigators. The thief got away with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of valuables.

Walter Cunningham, a retired NASA astronaut, was one of the victims. He said he kept space and family memorabilia in his storage.

"Documentation when I was with NASA for eight years," Cunningham said, who was the Lunar Module Pilot of Apollo 7. "We expected it to be secure and looked out for."

A few days ago, Cunningham said he received a harrowing call from employees with the storage company informing him that something might have been wrong with their lock.

Cunningham and his wife, Dot, found that their items were tossed around, and the storage unit was ransacked.

The Cunninghams have held their belongings at the facility for more than a decade. Valuables included collectibles, pictures, videos and family heirlooms. They also had a rifle in there.

"When we looked inside, we couldn't even get inside--all the stuff was on the floor and papers," Cunningham said.

They left the storage unit as it was to protect the scene for the investigation. Cunningham said that the employees at the facility would not tell them much information, only that two to three units were affected.

However, the Houston Police Department said there were 19 units affected.

Scott Holman III was one of them. He said his storage had been broken into multiple times in December, February and most recently on March 3.

"They're only hitting the units that have the expensive stuff in it," Holman said.

He said he lost at least $200,000 worth of silver.

"I've had hundreds and hundreds of pieces, and they've been in the family for generations, and they're gone forever," Holman said.

Holman said the thieves also took amplifiers, among many other valuables.

"Most of the stuff is in here because of Hurricane Harvey, and these are the things that I got out of that, and now they're gone," he said.

Holman said he requested that the company get security personnel, but he said nothing had been done. Holman said the thieves seem to know where everything is.

"The last time they broke in with me, they even knew where the DVR was, and they stole that and stole the camera," he said.

Holman said Public Storage isn't helping. KPRC 2 reached out the Public Storage and has not heard back.

"I've made many calls... I've been calling since December," Holman said. "They won't take my calls, and they won't return my calls."

Holman said he is frustrated with the lack of professionalism and response from Public Storage.

"You expect them to look out for your interest," he said. "It's one thing if it happened one time, and if it was a random occurrence, it's one thing."

Cunningham also said he wants answers and accountability.

" Are you going to be able to make that perfect and always stop everything? That’s not quite possible. But right now, it seems likes things are extremely in the opposite direction," Cunningham said.