AUSTIN (KXAN) — KXAN has learned more about the man accused of burglarizing Austin area storage units, including the types of items police believe he targeted and how he went undetected for years.

The Austin Police Department said Ian Linsey, 41, stole from more than 12 Central Texas facilities between March and December 2021. He was arrested by the Texas Department of Public Safety on Dec. 14 in a stolen U-Haul van that was spotted in surveillance video at one of the storage businesses, police said.

Austin Police Det. Dawn Hanson told KXAN Tuesday the suspect would rent storage units to gain access to facilities or would follow other vehicles through the security gates.

Hanson said Linsey has been cooperative and has expressed remorse, telling her he became certified to pick locks while working for an automotive company when he was younger. The detective said it appears he may have been doing this for years.

“He’s very talented at what he does,” Hanson said. “If he applied his evil for good, he would go a long way.”

Ian Linsey, 41 (Photo: Austin Police Department)

Linsey is accused of stealing musical equipment like guitars, keyboards and amplifiers, along with expensive tools and sports memorabilia, including rare MLB rookie cards. Police are now asking victims to come forward and reclaim their stolen property.

“I would suggest everybody go check their storage units,” Hanson said.

KXAN spoke with local locksmith Henry Cohen of Henry’s Lock & Key. He said he wasn’t surprised to hear how easily the storage units were compromised.

“I don’t have very good news for you,” Cohen said. “Most of the locks they use today — really bad.”

APD said Linsey pawned many of the stolen items, visiting pawn shops 495 times in a period of eight months.

According to the Texas Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner, which regulates pawn shops, a person only needs to show a valid ID to pawn something, though the shop must hold the items for 30 days before they are sold.

Linsey currently faces 15 charges including burglary. Investigators said that number could rise.

Affected storage facilities

  • 1321 W 5th St., Public Storage
  • 1213 W 6th St., Public Storage
  • 10931 Research Blvd., Public Storage
  • 12318 N Mopac Expy., Public Storage
  • 2301 E Ben White Blvd., Public Storage (S. Industrial Dr.)
  • 1507 W William Cannon Dr., Security Self Storage
  • 6204 Oakclaire Dr., Stash-N-Go Oakhill
  • 1714 E Parmer Ln., Life Storage
  • 2707 ONeal Ln., Stash-N-Go Storage
  • Unknown storage units in Kyle and Buda
  • Storage units in Pflugerville behind Casa Garcia’s
  • Unknown storage units in Thorndale

If you have been a victim at one of these storage units, you should contact Det. Hanson at (512) 974-4457 or email Dawn.Hanson@austintexas.gov