Suspects arrested for nearly 100 Fitness Club Thefts

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police arrest suspects fitness club theftsOn August 17, detectives from the Long Beach Police Department’s East Division Detective Detail arrested three suspects involved in numerous commercial burglaries from a local fitness club.

The suspects are believed to be responsible for approximately 100 burglaries, as well as other crimes, including auto theft.

The investigation revealed that these suspects would visit one of the chain’s facilities as a member. Once inside, they would enter the locker room and remove personal belongings from locked lockers using self-manufactured metal shims to open the lock, and then re-lock them once items were taken.

In most cases, the victims didn’t realize they had been victimized until a later time. These suspects committed thefts from several of the chain’s facilities within the Southern California area, and in many cases, would target several in one day.

Information learned from the investigation led detectives to a different fitness club chain facility on August 17, 2010, at approximately 4:00 p.m. All three suspects were located together and taken into custody. They have been identified as 18-year-old Komsan Suon, 19-year-old Marvin Empleo, and 19-year-old Mick So, all from Long Beach. They were all booked for commercial burglary, conspiracy to commit commercial burglary, possession of burglary tools, and possession of stolen property. They are each being held at the Long Beach City Jail on $20,000 bail.

Following the arrests, a search warrant was served at one of the suspect’s residences in the 1000 block of E. 10th Street. Numerous identification cards, credit cards, wallets and gym bags belonging to victims were recovered. The crime spree was so lucrative that one suspect bought cars, furniture and home electronics. In some cases, the victims’ credit cards were used to make purchases. In addition to all the other property, four vehicles were impounded and placed into evidence.

Investigators from the fitness club establishment were instrumental in providing critical information to further the investigation along, and are continuing to assist detectives with several aspects of the investigation.

Patrons of these types of fitness establishments should be vigilant about not leaving valuables in the lockers provided by the gym. Specifically, the ones where customers need to provide their own lock. Most customers prefer the combination style locks so they don’t have to carry the key during their workout, however, these types of locks are very easily opened with homemade devices that do not damage the lock and it is impossible to detect when they have been opened.

Anyone who may have additional information regarding these thefts or believe they have been a victim should contact East Division Detectives Robert Bernesen and Robert Trout at (562) 570-5878.

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