Gym Locker Thefts Running Rampant

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A 57-year-old Korean-American man, only identified by his initial P, was shocked after his morning swimming workout at a nearby fitness center.

When he went to the changing room after the workout, someone had destroyed his locker. His smartphone, wallet and car key were all but gone. He quickly got dressed and went out to the parking lot. His car was gone, too.

Locker thefts at La Habra’s prominent fitness center, LA Fitness Sports Club, have occurred repeatedly. The thefts have seemingly targeted the gym’s Korean members specifically, but complaints are piling as the police have been rather negligent. At least four Koreans have had their lockers broken into recently.

Another Korean man, Jim Park, saw that everything in his locker at the same gym disappeared entirely during his 45-minute workout on April 26 at around 8 a.m.

When Park reported the theft case to the front desk, the employee called the police. The police did not arrive even after an hour. When a police officer finally arrived, he simply told Park that this is a gym where locker thefts occur regularly.

Park later discovered that the thief had started a smartphone plan and used several of his credit cards. He secured the footage of the thief using his credit cards, but LA Fitness refused to cooperate, while the police also remained passive in further investigating.

“I asked six people at the gym and four of them said they’ve had their belongings stolen,” said Park. “The gym management is doing nothing to prevent thefts and nothing is being done when something like this happens. That’s why this has been an ongoing problem. Something has to be done. I’ve already filed an official complaint to the gym with the other victims. They promised to prevent thefts from occurring from now.”

Another victim other than Park also lost $4,000 in cash. The thief also stole his car and identity to make online purchases.

When contacted by the Korea Daily, LA Fitness in La Habra said that the inquiry should be redirected to the headquarters instead. The employee at the gym hung up the phone on this reporter after saying that he knows nothing about the recent thefts.

LA Fitness is operating over 800 gyms across the United States and Canada. The gym is headquartered in Irvine.

By Hyoungjae Kim