CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - Police are looking for a gym "rat" accused of stealing unattended car keys and wallets.
"I just thought someone had accidentally grabbed my keys," said Wes Cieciwa, whose car keys were stolen.
Surveillance video shows a woman, wearing a hat, leaving Gold's Gym on Arbor Creek Drive in Charlotte. She unlocks Cieciwa's parked car and steals his wallet in a matter of seconds.
"She basically opened up the console where I always keep my wallet," he said.
Cieciwa was still working out when he started getting alerts from his bank, He said the woman had racked up almost $4000 in charges before he finished his workout.
"She went to a Target, helped herself to a coffee and did some shopping," he said.
This Gold's Gym was targeted at least twice, on Aug. 28 and Sept. 7, according to police report. The general manager, who did not want to talk on camera, said he confronted the woman, and knows of three other gyms, including another Gold's Gym, in Concord, that were also allegedly targeted by the same woman.
"I think it's terrible what she's doing," said Cieciwa. "I work very hard for my money."
His bank will reimburse him the money he lost. In the shopping plaza where the thefts occurred two employees at a nearby pizza joint say this makes them nervous.
"I keep my money in my car, cash," said Grace Chambless. "The fact someone would be doing that it makes me feel unsafe."
"It's just mind blowing it's happening right across the street," said Kylie Hoag. "And we had no idae about it until now. It's insane, crazy."
Gold's Gym management thinks the woman entered the gym on a guest pass on one occasion and a stolen pass on another. The gym is now considering changing its rules regarding where unattended belongings can be left.
At the Arbor Creek location, a key rack has been removed. Members can leave their belongings in lockers or with staff.
Witnesses say the suspect drove a late 2000 Ford Escape with chrome wheels. She is said to have a tribal tattoo on her left arm.
Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers at (704) 334-1600.
Gold's Gym is offering a $500 reward for anyone who turns in the suspect.
Gold's Gym Statement
In a statement Gold's Gym tells FOX 46:
"Upon discovering both occurrences, we immediately contacted police. Although we have her picture and a license plate number, we have not yet been informed of any arrest. While Golds Gym provides an optional convenient center for members to hang their keys during workout, we are not able to constantly monitor the board itself. Although our members understand the inherent risk of leaving their keys unattended, this particular type of theft is the first occurrence for us and not something anyone would have predicted. We are in the process of determining whether our key board policy will remain an option. We deeply regret these events, and will be working with the police as closely as possible to identify and have this person arrested." -Dusty Mason, franchise owner of Charlotte Gold's Gyms