National News

Car thieves targeting people working out at the gym

Posted April 11, 2018 12:45 p.m. EDT

— Imagine going to the gym, getting in a good sweat and then getting ready to leave, only to realize your car has been stolen.

"I noticed the keys were missing so automatically I thought that the car was gone," said Maurice Odoms.

Odoms was working out at the Planet Fitness on Peachtree Industrial Boulevard on April 1 when his 2017 Hyundai Sonata was stolen from the parking lot.

Whoever took it stole his keys from inside the gym. They were hanging on a key rack, which members use while working out.

"You just put your keys for your car and your house right on the peg and it's right in the open are," said Duluth Police Officer Ted Sadowski.

Two of the three cars have been recovered. Odonm's was dumped in Midtown.

"They just trashed the car," he said. "There were a lot of pizza boxes, jackets, food. I mean the car looked like they went on a joy ride."

The investigation is ongoing and police are looking into whether all the thefts are related but there are some hurdles.

"With Planet Fitness, they'll ask for their name for the day pass and then when they fill out the information, it's not verified by a driver's license," said Officer Sadowski.

The Planet Fitness doesn't have surveillance cameras.

"I would never hand my keys up again," Odoms said. "Personally I think they should take that place off where patrons can hang their keys especially it they're not going to monitor it."

Employees have now moved the key rack behind the front desk. From now on gym members must either show a staff member a picture of their keys or have they gym key tag attached to their car keys to get them back.

Around 3 p.m. Tuesday, Duluth Police arrested three people for stealing a car from Brasselton.

Police arrested one of the suspects in the parking lot of the Planet Fitness and the other two in a nearby subdivision.

Police are investigating whether the three are involved in the gym car thefts.