Locker rooms, especially in sports clubs, are common targets for thieves looking to lift a wallet and maybe some jewelry, cash or small electronics.
As such, weekly roundups of Lexington crime often include an item or two describing reported thefts at the on Bedford Street, near Hartwell Avenue and just off Route 128-95.
“Sports clubs are notorious targets; it goes back at least 20 years,” said Lexington Police Capt. Joseph O’Leary, who first encountered the crimes at the Harvard Sports Club, where doctors, lawyers and others with white collars and high credit limits went to exercise.
Generally speaking, crooks know when someone enters the gym, they’ll have an hour or better to get in, grab the wallet, get out and spend before the victim finishes his or her workout, swim, shower, et cetera.
Oftentimes it’s cash, cards and an iPod from an unsecured locker, or a wallet and GPS unit from a car parked in the lot. But this past Saturday, the swindle was a bit more elaborate.
At 5:35 p.m., Saturday, July 16, a man called police to report his keys were taken from his unsecured locker and his wallet and credit cards went missing from his vehicle outside.
Turns out, the man’s card was used to charge about $2,500 of merchandise at an electronics store in Burlington about 45 minutes before the man reported the theft to police.
Conceivably, the thief swiped the keys, left the locker room and clicked the car lock buttons and located the victim’s vehicle by the beeping and blinking lights. He or she then likely found the wallet and fled to use the card before it was reported stolen and cancelled.
O’Leary said this is the first time he’s seen someone steal from the same victim’s locker and car, but he’s not surprised and sees no reason why it couldn’t happen again.
“As time goes on, crooks are becoming more and more sophisticated,” he said. “Although this is an unusual thing, I have a feeling it’s going to become more and more popular.”
The following evening, police received another report of items stolen at the Boston Sports Club. At 8:49 p.m., Sunday, July 17, a club patron reported $160 cash had been stolen from his locker, which was reportedly forcibly entered sometime between 7 and 7:30 p.m.
There’s no real way to protect one’s belongings while working out, so O’Leary recommends leaving valuables at home.
“Don’t bring anything of value when you go to the club,” he said. “Unfortunately, that’s the only way to ensure you’re not going to lose anything.”