NORTH BERGEN, New Jersey (PIX11) – Steve Monetti makes his living buying abandoned storage lockers at auction, and re-selling their contents. He’s even been a contestant on the reality show “Storage Wars.” On Monday, more than 20 units were up for grabs at Harlem Self-Storage on West 141st Street, and Monetti jumped right in.
“Something came over me. I just felt I had an aura, that I had to purchase this unit,” said Monetti, who’s from North Bergen, New Jersey.
So, Monetti, 41, dropped $550 to find out what was behind door number 4214.
“I thought I had seen it all until I saw this,” he said.
He expected to find items from someone’s home, and he did—a funeral home. Packed inside several boxes were 31 urns and containers—some of them decades old—filled with cremated human remains.
“This was the scariest abnormal feeling. The hair stood up on my neck. I started seeing the amount of people. I kept finding more and more and more,” Monetti said.
The property belonged to Eugenia Street until recently, when she fell behind on her rent for the locker.
The late Warren Blake was Eugenia’s uncle. He was an NYPD detective, who also ran a funeral home in Harlem. When the business closes, his niece put all the ashes in storage.
“I’m just sorry people never came to claim their loved ones. They’ve been abandoned for a long period of time, “ said Street.
The police and medical examiner’s office determined there was no crime committed.
The cremains will be brought to another funeral home in Harlem with hopes that the families of lost loved ones will be identified.
“Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. That’s the life of the game you play here,” Monetti said. “I didn’t monetarily score, but I scored in terms of giving some people their proper resting place, without them being in a garbage container or landfill.”