Upper Darby police arrest suspect in gym thefts

UPPER DARBY, Pa. - April 3, 2014

Club members at the Planet Fitness in Upper Darby are relieved to hear that an arrest has been made.

Police say 42-year-old Joseph Daniels of Philadelphia turned himself in to Upper Darby Police after seeing himself on Action News Monday night.

"He was watching TV and the station that ran it was Channel 6. You ran it that day, and the next day the lawyer called and said, 'I got a client that wants to surrender, he's the guy in the video,'" said Michael Chitwood, Upper Darby Police Superintendent.

Police across the tri-state area had been looking for Daniels and his accomplice for a rash of thefts and burglaries at Planet Fitness and L.A. Fitness clubs over the course of five weeks.

Police say as many as 20 clubs in Delaware County, Philadelphia, Wilmington, Delaware and Gloucester Township, New Jersey have been hit in the last five weeks.

Police say they would not only break into cars and steal valuables, but in some cases, they would cut the locks off customer's lockers inside the gym, steal the belongings and put on a new lock to throw off the victims.

The suspects would use the victims' credit cards and ATM cards to buy expensive gaming equipment.

"They bought stuff like X-Boxes and different types of games and iPods, wrist watches, you name it, they were buying it," said Chitwood. "I mean these guys were a two man crime wave."

Patrons at the health clubs were relieved to hear the news of the arrest.

"That is good, that's good because you come to the gym to try to relieve stress and the last thing you want to worry about is somebody breaking into your car and stealing your stuff. We have enough stress," said Tara Harris.

Police are still looking for Daniel's accomplice.

"So the world of policing and the world of media collaborated to get this guy off the street, and we got a good lead on the second guy, so we'll be going after him shortly," said Chitwood.

Police are warning patrons to be careful of what you leave in your car and your lockers at the gym.

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