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https://pixabay.com/photos/handcuffs-trouble-police-arrest-2102488/

Suspected thieves arrested for ‘wreaking havoc’ at local gyms

The pair appear to target gyms with no security systems, police said.

Bellevue police have arrested two suspects who they say have been behind numerous thefts at local gyms in the past 10 months.

D’Mario Mallory, 30, was arrested on Aug. 8 and Joseph Gill, 33, was arrested on July 1, while in jail on an unrelated case. They both face three counts of identity theft, but more charges could be added as investigators go through evidence, said Meeghan Black, Bellevue Police Department spokesperson.

Investigators allege the pair would target gyms that didn’t have security systems. After checking in at the front desk of the establishments, the suspects would allegedly cut the locks off lockers and steal possessions — including wallets containing cash and credit cards. New locks would then be placed on the lockers in an effort to delay reporting, investigators said.

The stolen credit cards were immediately used at nearby stores to purchase gift cards. Detectives identified the suspects after obtaining store surveillance footage. And search warrants were served on the suspects’ homes. There police discovered cut paddle locks, gift cards and Western Union receipts for thousands of dollars.

Locker room thefts have been a trend across the county, with reports being made in Redmond, Mercer Island and Issaquah. However, a large number of theft reports originated from the Kelsey Creek LA Fitness location in Bellevue.

As of June 24, there had been 87 locker room thefts in Bellevue, Black said. Of that number, 31 occurred at the Kelsey Creek location at 15053 Main St. On Aug. 9, Black said there were more than 20 open Bellevue cases, and three came in overnight related to locker thefts.

“This is prolific,” Black said. “It is happening a lot.”

The Bellevue Police Department is working with LA Fitness to improve security measures. The company is encouraged to install video surveillance cameras to deter future crimes. Black said almost all of the locker room thefts happen at gyms without security.

For those heading to the gym, Black advises gym goers to only take what they can carry and not to leave anything in their car or in the locker room. It’s best, she added, to check with management and ensure that security measures are in place.

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