Friday, June 14, 2024

Thief steals bag from woman at Chicago gym, steals her car, breaks into home

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CHICAGO (CBS) — A thief stole a woman’s bag from a Lincoln Park neighborhood gym recently—and then used her keys to steal her car and break into her home.

The theft happened at the popular Lakeshore Sport & Fitness, which has been around since 1972 at 1320 W. Fullerton Ave. – and which The Encyclopedia of Chicago was redeveloped as a “country club in the city” with a pool, weight training, a spa clinic, tennis and racquetball courts, and dining after its first building collapsed during the Blizzard of 1979.

It is an old and familiar place to many, and thus, one where many feel comfortable and safe from such crimes.

There are also cameras all over the outside of the private athletic club building, but the staff at the athletic club say criminals know there aren’t any cameras in the locker rooms for privacy reasons. This creates an opportunity to go undetected.

Lakeshore Sport & Fitness said a member had her bag stolen last week from the pool deck. Her keys were used to steal her car in the parking lot, and break into a home.

Nicole Pamphilis coaches tennis at the club.

“I mean, I’ve always felt very safe here,” Pamphilis said. “Even when I’m in the locker room, I typically don’t put on a lock.”

Police said the 37-year-old victim reported the theft around 6:20 a.m. Wednesday, April 10.

In a letter to members about the incident, Lakeshore Sport & Fitness staff wrote in part: “[H]ealth clubs across the country, especially in affluent neighborhoods, are a target for criminals right now. This is happening because of the comfort of being in a private club.”

“It makes me sad that that happened to that lady, just because they have, you know, a solid check-in at the door,” said Pamphilis.

“Certainly in Chicago, recently, there have been a number of similar incidents,” added Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd).

Despite the cameras and secure entrances, Hopkins said the criminals responsible for such crimes know what they’re doing.

“We have evidence that suggests the people who choose this type of crime intentionally try and blend in,” he said. “They wear gym clothes. They try and look like a member. They try not to attract attention.”

The club urged members to lock their belongings and avoid leaving valuables in their cars.

“If I ever am going to use a locker from now on, I’ll definitely use a lock,” said Pamphilis.

As of late Friday, no arrests had been made in the theft. But Ald. Hopkins said the stolen car has been recovered and processed for any evidence left behind.

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