Thieves targeting cars at fitness centers in tri-county

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Police say thieves are targeting cars in fitness center parking lots across our area. 

When it's workout day at the gym people often carry a light load like Austin Stahl.

"I just bring my keys and my phone to listen to music and that's pretty much it," Stahl said.

Thieves are taking notice and police say there are some things you could do that could help you from becoming a target for theft.

"That's not okay, break-ins are not okay no matter what," Stahl said. 

Andy Wu works at Gold's Gym in North Charleston. He says there have been no reported break-ins but that doesn't mean police aren't looking out. 

"They've been cruising through a bit because I go to a lot of gyms around the area," Wu said. 

Wu says North Charleston police recently posted a sign in front of their gym encouraging people to lock their doors, remove valuables and report suspicious activity. 

"We're really in a good position right here we can see outside, everything, what's happening," Wu said. 

A lot of times thieves will look in your windows to find something they might want to take. The best thing you can do is hide your valuable items or take them out of the car.

You could also move your items to the trunk, but a locked door will not always stop a thief. 

Summerville Police are looking for a suspect that broke car windows and stole items in a Pivotal Fitness parking lot in Summerville. A police report says one person had more than $7,000 worth of items stolen. 

Another woman says the thief took her diaper bag, likely because it looked like a purse but the person didn't get away with her actual purse. She said it was tucked away under a jacket. 

"I think the best course of action is to leave any valuables inside your house or you can bring it inside," Wu said.  "We have lockers and everything like that you can just put inside the locker and lock it. "

Charleston Police posted warnings to people going to fitness center on social media. They discourage people from leaving keys in communal baskets at gyms because some thieves could take your car.

Though Stahl hasn't been a victim to theft he knows people who have. 

"Very stressful and traumatic to find that all of their belongings were gone from someone shattering a window with a hammer you know, people are ruthless," Stahl said. 

Charleston Police say if you see people sitting in a fitness center parking or hanging out nearby you should make a mental note of their description and call police dispatch.  If you would prefer not to call you could mention it to the gym staff to lookout for suspicious activity.

There have also been recent thefts at Saint Andrews Family Fitness Center and Pivotal Fitness in West Ashley.

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