Police probe rash of gym thefts

July 10, 2008 2:57:58 PM PDT
A number of gym thefts in bensalem?in the past three years, police say here have been more than 100 victims. Police warn gym patrons to leave their valuables at home or at the office before they come for their workout.

The L.A. Fitness center in Bensalem it hardly looks like a hotbed of crime.

But the rate of theft inside and outside the workout gym drives the local crime rate up. There are more crimes reported here than at the huge Neshaminy Mall across the boulevard.

Police say there have been 37 thefts, mostly locker break-ins, in the last three years. Seven in the last 12 months. 71 thefts in the parking lot over a three-year period, ten over the course of the last year.

"That is a high number for such a small area, but one explanation is criminals know that people don't work out with their jewelry, their watches and their money. They either leave them in the car, or in their locker," said Bensalem police director Frederick Harran.

Yury Shraybman is the latest victim of a rifled locker.

He worked out here late Tuesday only to return to find that his combination lock had been opened, probably with a makeshift tool, and his $6,000 watch was gone along with less than $20 cash.

" I figured the watch was safer in a locked locker room rather than leave it in the car because I had heard of some incidents at other L.A. Fitness where people would just break into your car," he said.

Shraybman knew the fitness center can not be held responsible.

But he was told there are no security cameras posted here, despite the crime rate.

"A camera needs to be installed or a security guard needs to be hired."

The police brass does not doubt Shraybman's story, but are nevertheless leery about all these stories of high-end thefts.

"There are some people who are reporting some things that are maybe not exactly what's being stolen. It's kind of crazy. Nobody goes to the gym and brings a $10,000 watch. Either you're doing something shady or you're the stupidest person out there," said Harran.

L.A. Fitness corporate headquarters did not respond to our request for comment.