I really just can't wrap my head around this situation, so I've laid out all the facts I could find and my thoughts, and was hoping you guys could help me work this out. From everything I can dig up that's publicly available, here's what I've been able to put together.
OP stored an unknown (but at minimum 439) number of books in an indoor storage unit. OP rented said storage unit from CubeSmart. CubeSmart policy is that you are prohibited from storing anything valued at more than $5,000 in their units, unless written permission is received from the Owner of the CubeSmart facility to a higher amount. OP stored a minimum of $1.4 million in comic books there (the amount he claims the stolen books were worth). I have no knowledge as to whether he did or did not receive written permission to store that level of stuff at a CubeSmart. What I do know (since I have family in the area) is that there are several high end storage facilities that cater to people storing antiques, rare books, fine art and the like. Much more secure, and better climate control (also no where near as cheap).
Now, OP says the "break in" (I'll explain later why I put that in quotes) occurred sometime between November and January 8th. OP stated that when he entered the storage unit on or around January 8th, the locks (plural, which also doesn't make sense because in my experience with storage units, you're permitted to put one lock on and the second lock area is for the facility to overlock you to prevent you from gaining access to the unit in the event you don't pay, so not sure why/how OP was permitted to put two locks on, but hey, maybe it's different at CubeSmart) were not tampered with, but a wire(?) on the ceiling of his unit was cut. Now, I have no idea what this means. Does the CubeSmart not have ceilings for their units, and instead put like a chicken wire over the top of each unit? I have no way of knowing. But, since OP said that the locks were not tampered with, it means that the alleged thieves either had keys to his locks and could unlock the door and come and go as they please (it's not a break-in in that situation, hence the quotes, it would be unlawful entry) or they mission impossible'd in from the ceiling. In one interview, OP stated that when he entered the storage unit he could feel that something was off and “I panicked and I started ripping off the tops of all my boxes and, needless to say, I got very emotional and very upset because they were all gone,”. Ok so stay with me here. These individuals gain access to the CubeSmart, know (SOMEHOW) to target this specific unit, gain access to the unit (either by key or Tom Cruise style) and proceed to remove 439 slabs BY FIRST TAKING THEM OUT OF THE BOXES. Now, I'm no Lex Luthor level super-criminal, I'm just a simple big city lawyer *pulls on suspenders* BUT isn't the goal of pulling off a heist the idea of not being suspicious. Why on earth would you take books OUT of the box, and walk them to your car outside? Doesn't that look more suspicious that you're carrying out multiple items loose? Also, Isn't it easier to just carry the boxes out? Why leave the boxes behind? Let's not forget the volume we're talking about here. 439 books is 13 Hotflips CGC boxes worth of books. Did the alleged thieves bring a panel van and dolly to this heist? So now they have a panel van, a dolly, wire cutters, a rig to enter from the ceiling... has anyone checked Tom Cruise's alibi? One would think this would have to be a highly planned heist not just a spur of the moment "smash and grab".
Now, about 10 days after the story hits, an individual is arrested in Arizona (2,000 miles away) in possession of 4 of the books. From the news reports that individual went to a comic book shop in Arizona to sell the books. He left and came back a few days later to haggle with the store owner. Now, again, why is a thief (someone who must know their value, who went to great pains to get these items out and then smart enough to try to sell them 2,000 miles away to avoid suspicion) haggling over a price? Wouldn't you just take the first offer you get knowing the books are hot? If the store owner knew the books were stolen when the guy first came in on January 8th, why not call the police then? Or if your mentality is that when the guy leaves you call and set up a sting operation, wouldn't it make more sense to tell the guy "Ok I'll pay you $xx,xxx, come back tomorrow and I'll have the cash/a check". What guarantee do you have that he's going to show up the next day or two to continue to haggle?
I just feel like there is a lot of odd things going on in this story (not to mention OPs connection to Schmell, which... well charges 46 and 47 really stick in my mind.). Then again most of you probably see me like this right now...