Thief steals cherished art collection from North Bay couple's storage unit

A North Bay couple is sounding the alarm about storage facilities after their cherished art collection was stolen from their rented unit. 

The victims want people to know "lock and key" may not be as secure as they think. 

"This was full of boxes, and every box was full," Christian Fogliani told KTVU, unlocking the unit he has had at Public Storage in Petaluma for two years. 

"This is probably the first time I've ever cried in front of my children," said Fogliani, still in shock after discovering the loss of his property. 

Dozens of pieces of art accumulated over 15 years are gone. 

They were one-of-a-kind, expressive works of pop surrealism and urban art, valued at about $75,000.

"This art speaks to me, every piece tells a story," said Fogliani, rifling through the few paintings left behind in the 5-by-10 foot space. 

"I get emotional about this," said wife Kristina Fogliani, her voice trembling. "It's more than just the money loss, it's the meaning behind it, it's the experience."

Finding art and meeting artists have been a big part of the couple's life, and their memories together. 

They had no idea they had been burglarized until a San Jose woman contacted Christian on Tuesday.

She had acquired a painting, and by searching its name on the web, found it in his collection on Flickr.

She wanted to know what it was worth.

Fogliani assured her it wasn't for sale- it was an original and tucked away in storage. 

But she said she had possession of it, and had received it with the contents of an Oakland storage space auctioned more than a week ago.

That's when the couple rushed to their unit and found it ransacked. 

"I almost  fainted. I could not believe what I was looking at," said Christian, "there were 50 pieces of art in here, and now there's 12."

Petaluma police responded and took a report and checked for fingerprints but there are no cameras in the second-floor hallway, only in the entry lobby where a keypad code summons the elevator.

"The lock wasn't cut, it wasn't broken, it was completely secure so how did this happen ?" posed Kristina.

The padlock on their locker was purchased from Public Storage. 

"Does someone have a master key, does someone have a bump key, is someone able to pick it, those are the questions we have," added Christian.

Kristina posted about the stolen pieces on Facebook and was stunned at the response.

Numerous people commented that they had experienced similar burglaries at other storage properties and at the same building as the Foglianis, even on the same floor. 

"It was like, wow, something needs to happen," marveled Kristina,"and someone needs to be held accountable."  

The clerk the couple alerted shrugged off the theft, and so far, there has been no outreach from management either. 

The stranger who inadvertently bought their painting has offered to give it back to them.

It's worth $4,000; she had been offering it on ebay for $99.

What happened to the dozens of other pieces- paintings, drawings, and sculpture- is still unknown. 

The Fogliani's insurance may cover some of the financial loss, but the items are irreplaceable.

"It's really a violation," said Christian, "and feels bad like a relationship, like part of your soul's been ripped out of you."