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Rash of Locker Break-Ins Strike New Washington Heights Planet Fitness

By Nigel Chiwaya | October 4, 2013 9:18am
 Five lockers were broken into during an hour at the new gym, which opened its doors in July.
Locker Break Ins at Washington Heights Planet Fitness
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WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — Planet Fitness' new Washington Heights location fell victim to a rash of locker thefts at the end of September, police said.

Five lockers were broken into at the new gym, which opened at 3799 Broadway at West 157th Street in July. Police say the break-in's all occurred in the men's locker room during a one-hour period on Sept. 30. Wallets, credit cards, and iPhones were the main items stolen, cops said, adding that none of the credit cards have been used yet.

The break-ins occurred just two weeks after police in the 34th Precinct arrested a woman behind a string of locker room thefts another Planet Fitness on Dyckman Street in Inwood. The woman, who police arrested after she was caught on video trying to use a stolen credit card at a store near the gym, broke into several lockers in the gym's women's locker room between June and September.

Police say the two cases are unrelated.

Capt. Fausto Pichardo, head of the 33rd Precinct, said that locker rooms are common targets for thieves, in part because they are sparsely populated and cannot have security cameras in them. As a result, Pichardo urged visitors purchase bigger locks and to use the smaller lockers located near the gym's front desk, which are heavily staffed and have security cameras.

"If someone's going to come with a hammer and break that lock, you'll have three people at the counter; they can see it," Pichardo said at Wednesday's night's Community Board 12 Public Safety Committee meeting. "Even if a worker was distracted, we have three different cameras there, and we can watch it."