EAST GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A thief stole a man’s wallet and keys from a gym locker while he worked out, then drove off with his car.

Police on Long Island told CBS2’s Valerie Castro that it’s a crime they’re seeing a lot of lately.

Last week, the thief entered the locker room of L.A. Fitness on Stewart Avenue in East Garden City and stole a patron’s wallet and keys, Nassau County police said. The thief then stole the victim’s car and used his credit cards to buy gifts.

The car was later abandoned.

Joe Smith, of Plainview, said the same thing happened to him at a different gym.

“A guy pulled it out of the locker, pulled my pants out of the locker, took my wallet, took my keys,” Smith said.

In both cases, neither victim had a lock on their lockers, trusting their valuables were safe inside a commercial gym.

“We have a lot of people that leave watches, wedding bands,” fitness club owner Michael Cracco said.

Fitness club managers urge customers to lock up all their valuables, pointing out the clubs have no legal obligation to reimburse you for any losses.

“Personally, I never use the lockers because I just don’t trust it and I don’t have a lock,” Stephanie Azamo, of Massapequa, said.

Azamo said she’d rather carry her belongings, although she worries about someone stepping on her cellphone.

Retiree Jeff Zinn said he relies on an arm patch.

“Right here, I have my license and a little bit of a cash for a shake right in here. That’s all I bring,” he said.

For those who choose to use a locker, gym managers say patrons often think they’ve locked up when really they haven’t. It even happened to one fitness trainer whose pocketbook was stolen from a locker in her own gym.

“My second day, my locker got broken into because although I had a lock, I neglected to secure it properly,” Meg Musorofiti, of Sayville, said.

Meanwhile, police said they are hoping to identify a suspect soon.

L.A. Fitness had no comment about the December 27 theft.


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