THORNTON, Colo. — Every gym rat knows "Gym Rule #1: Never Miss A Monday."
So last Monday, Carrier Ricardo-Diaz went for cardio at the Thornton VASA fitness.
"I ran on the treadmill for about 15 minutes, and then went back to the locker to get my water bottle," she said. "My locker was open, and my backpack was gone."
She frantically started looking for her backpack and found it inside a bathroom stall — minus her car keys. Outside, her car had been stolen, and Thornton police said it was a familiar story.
"Because they said that they were getting calls almost daily. It wasn't surprising to them," said Ricardo-Diaz.
Contact Denver7 has been hearing from VASA fitness members from all over the Front Range.
"My brand new Jeep was stolen and they took my wallet," said Anthony, who left a message on the Contact Denver7 hotline about the theft outside VASA's Westminster location. "The person stole the backpack out of my locker."
In Colorado Springs, Briana Chamnes has the same story at the VASA fitness location in April. She eventually found her stolen car, trashed. The thieves left behind drugs and other gym flyers — possibly their next target.
"I practically worked myself to death to buy that car," Chamnes told our ABC-affiliate KRDO-TV.
In Denver, the crime map shows nine car thefts reported at the VASA fitness location in less than four months. In a statement, Denver Police wrote that in most of the cases, the thieves stole keys from lockers.
Police said there are no arrests associated with these cases, but suspects have been identified in at least one case. Also, Denver Police said they did some outreach to the business regarding theft and auto theft prevention.
"We, of course, encourage people to lock up their personal items when they go to the gym, and to minimize the belongings they take into the gym since thieves also target locked lockers," said Doug Schepman, a spokesman for Denver Police.
Denver police said two car keys were stolen from locked lockers.
In Thornton, police records obtained by Denver7 show VASA fitness has surveillance video of the suspects, but police would not release it.
A Thornton police spokesman confirmed reports of stolen cars increasing at multiple area gyms, including VASA, Planet Fitness and Chuze Fitness.
In a statement, VASA fitness told Contact Denver7:
VASA has signage posted inside its clubs reminding members to lock their valuables...Outside of the locker rooms, VASA has security cameras in all of its clubs and in the unfortunate event something is stolen, VASA takes action immediately, delivering footage to local police enforcement in a timely manner and assisting with investigators however possible. On behalf of the team at VASA, we are saddened to hear of the recent car thefts from unlocked lockers and are looking into additional ways to keep members and their valuables safe.
Ricardo-Diaz said she just wants to warn others because she did not lock her locker, thinking the gym would prevent non-members from entering.
"If no one's making a big deal out of it, it's gonna keep happening," she said. "So, I chose to make a big deal out of it. The gym should be taking ownership and responsibility. They should tell us, 'Hey, here's a heads up. They're stealing cars from our parking lot. So just make sure to lock up your things or keep your things with you.'"
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