Storage war scheduled for Don Tollefson storage units in Philly
The contents of two storage units in Philadelphia rented by former sports television anchor Don Tollefson will be put up for auction Monday morning and the contents could be hotly contested.
As in the cable series Storage Wars, anyone can bid on Tollefson's belongings at 11:30 a.m. at the Public Storage facility at 456 N. Columbus Blvd. A Ford Explorer kept there by Tollefson is also up for bid.
An employee at the facility confirmed the two units belong to Tollefson, who was arrested this week on charges he allegedly bilked more than 100 people out of at least $100,000 in a vacation scheme during the last few years. Tollefson had worked as a sportscaster at Philly's FOX and ABC news affiliates for 30 years.
"He's actually a very nice man," said the employee, who declined to give a name, but noted that Tollefson has tried to pay off his debts on the units. Tollefson does have until just before the auction begins Monday morning to pay off his debt and keep ownership of his storage units' contents.
The employee said public auctions are held about once a month on units that go into delinquency, which can occur if owners fail to pay rent during a two and a half month period.
Opening bids on individual units at the auctions start at the amount in arrears and go up or down from there, depending on the bids. Each of the units and the vehicle will be auctioned separately.
The auction will play out much like the cable television show. Public Storage employees will open the storage units and allow potential bidders a peek. Bidders will not be allowed to enter a unit until a winning bid is selected.
The employee at the facility did not know how much Tollefson owes.
An email to Tollefson's attorney was not returned.
It is also unclear when the last time Tollefson, 61, of Wyndmoor, Montgomery County, visited the facility.
The police investigation into his alleged fraudulent activity began about four months ago in Warminster, Bucks County. A message left for a Warminster detective on the case was not returned.
The Public Storage employee said a group of "regulars" show up at the monthly unit auctions and "they've made a job of it, a career."
"Others just come and look at it because they find it interesting," the employee said.
The auction of Tollefson's units, along with numerous others at the Columbus Blvd. location and other Public Storage facilities throughout the city, were advertised in the Metro newspaper on Wednesday.
Tollefson's name is the only one capitalized among the numerous names of people with storage units up for auction in the small, black-and-white ads.
A little-known detail bidders should know about Monday's auction: Public Storage employees will not make it explicitly known at the time of the bidding who owns each unit. But the advertisement in the Metro included the unit number next to each name so attentive bidders will have a way of knowing who rented each unit before they are auctioned off.