Thieves target Carson City gym parking lots | NevadaAppeal.com

Thieves target Carson City gym parking lots

by F.T. Norton

A recent rash of auto burglaries in fitness-center parking lots has Carson City police warning gym enthusiasts to lock up their belongings.

“We’ve had a series of break-ins – four so far that we are aware of and possibly up to 10 – where someone is breaking into cars parked right in front of the gym and stealing wallets and purses,” said Detective Bob Motamenpour. “Most people don’t take their wallets inside the gym because they’re worried about them being stolen so they leave them in their cars.”

Motamenpour said the thieves immediately begin to use the credit and debit cards at places like Target and Wal-Mart, ringing up hundreds of dollars in merchandise.

On a few occasions the thieves have unsuccessfully attempted to use the cards inside area casinos that have machines that work without PIN numbers.

An alert was sent out Tuesday telling gym operators to warn their clientele of the burglaries, he said.

A few of the incidents have happened in the early morning or late evening hours when people are trying to fit their exercise in around their work schedule.

Motamenpour offered the following tips to those using the gyms:

• Keep all your personal items locked in gym lockers.

• Avoid bringing your checkbook and check cards with you when you workout.

• Lock your vehicles.

• During dark hours, park under a light and as close to the front of the business as possible.

“And as far as the merchants are concerned,” he added, “merchants need to use proper identification techniques and match the signature and identity of the card holder to the card.”

He also warned if the thieves have the wallets and credit and debit cards they likely have the card owners driver’s license as well.

“So merchants need to look at the pictures on the cards. If the woman in the picture is five-three and blond and the one before you is 6 foot with dark hair, you know something’s wrong,” Motamenpour said.

Contact reporter F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1213.