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Colder weather leads to thieves targeting gym parking lots

Posted at 6:13 PM, Nov 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-17 00:01:56-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — If you're a frequent gym visitor, you need to add a new step to your routine according to the Omaha Police Department. As opportunistic thieves are striking all over the city.

"Our attendance goes up significantly when the weather turns nasty," said Jeri Engen, General Manager at Pinnacle Fitness Club.

That shift in weather means more people are at the gym, which thieves take note of. "People will know that once you've walked into the gym you're going to be in there for at least an hour maybe a little bit longer, so there probably is more of an opportunity for something to happen," said Engen.

It's lead to an increase in thefts from vehicles parked in gym parking lots. People are leaving their valuables in their cars, making easy work for criminals.

"They're looking for those people leaving valuables behind they don't want to take their wallet in, nice watch, jewelry, things like that," said Officer Joe Nickerson, with the Omaha Police Department.

Doors are left unlocked, while others are leaving their items out in the open. "The occasional smash and grab, where if they can see things in plain sight sometimes they will break that window and grab it quickly," said Nickerson.

What tips should you follow to avoid falling victim? It starts on the inside. "Pay attention to your surroundings, look at your car see what you've got in there, bring it in, put it in a locker," said Engen.

If you don't use a locker, make sure those items are secure in your car. "Lock them in the trunk or in a compartment that's not visible from the outside, or even purchase an after market safe that's anchored in the vehicle that will keep those valuables really secure," said Nickerson.

"Take care of your personal belongings before you come into the gym," said Engen.