Local health clubs victimized by gym locker theft ring

Suspect arrested thefts reported at LA Fitness, Planet Fitness
By Dan Aznoff | Aug 15, 2019

Two health clubs in Mill Creek were included in the list of more than two-dozen thefts reported from gym lockers in south Snohomish County, according to reports filed with the police department.

Police arrested an Everett man last week as one of three men being sought on suspicion being part of a ring that stole wallets and personal items from gym lockers in June.

LA Fitness and Planet Hollywood were two of the 27 health clubs victimized during the crime spree, according to police reports.

The suspect admitted to police in Everett that he stole items from at least two-dozen gym lockers in the county. Everett police are still investigating other possible suspects.

Mill Creek Police Chief Greg Elwin did not comment on the dates or the items stolen from lockers in Mill Creek, but said both clubs are connected with the crime spree.

David Bogden, general manager at LA Fitness in Mill Creek, declined to comment. The manager at Planet Fitness said he was unaware of any reported criminal activity.

In addition to the incidents reported in Mill Creek, reports from other police departments indicate items were reported missing from 24 Hour Fitness, more than one YMCA, and the Boeing gym in Everett.

Each crime took place in a similar manner, according to the Everett police report. The suspect would enter the gym with accomplices who would distract a front desk employee while the suspect snuck through to the back. The suspect then allegedly used makeshift lock picks to break into lockers to steal the wallets of club members while they exercised.

According to a report from an Everett detective, the suspect then used stolen cards to make purchases at nearby grocery stores. After viewing the transactions through store security cameras, police believe the man spent hundreds of dollars on gift cards.

The suspect was arrested in Arlington when a manager at the Stillaguamish Athletic Club called 911, accusing the man and two others of criminal trespassing.

The three men had allegedly been living inside a car in the gym’s parking lot and had refused to leave when asked. They also tried stealing from the athletic club’s locker room, but couldn’t find any locks that they could break into, according to a police report.

Joel Lenox, the owner/manager of Anytime Fitness in Mill Creek, said the lockers at his club are in the middle of a hallway, making it unlikely anybody would try to break in during regular business hours.

“We have a key entry, so we’re a little harder to get into,” said Lenox. “Stealing from lockers is not something we need to worry about.”

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