"I realize people are up against hard economic times, but we will evict them," said South Salt Lake police spokesman Gary Keller. "It was just a recipe for disaster. Storage units weren't made to be habitable. They are not designed for that."
Police said they first became suspicious after they were asked to respond to a trespassing call there on March 19.
When they returned a day later along with city code enforcement officers and the city fire marshal, the property manager told them that she knew there were people living in other units, the search warrant states.
Officers said while investigating, they found several people illegally living there.
At least one occupant had knocked holes in the walls to allow for movement between units, the search warrant states. Keller said the living conditions posed health and safety risks. Officers found a woman had been locked inside a storage unit.
The occupants had set up a system in which one person would lock the others in their units so that they always appeared to be locked, Keller said.
Police also discovered a make-shift bedroom with food, clothing and other living accessories. Three other units also contained make-shift bedrooms with beds, clothing, food, televisions, microwaves, recliners, computer workstations, lamps and other accessories, the search warrant stated.
"They were being very creative, but it was still a hazard," Keller said.
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