A suspected thief dressed in sportswear has been caught on camera stealing bags and belongings from gyms in Brisbane.
It appears the woman is targeting 24-hour gyms and is accused of lifting wallets, phones and even cars.
Matthew Bennett claims he had his phone, wallet and car stolen while working out at his local Jetts Fitness in Woolloongabba on Thursday night.
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“Within five minutes, I’m jumping on the treadmill, warming up and then immediately coming down, going back to my gear to check my phone and stuff and it’s not there,” Bennett said.
Bennett assumed that someone had mistakenly picked up his belongings from the lockers, before realizing that the other members’ belongings were also missing.
“There were now three of us who confirmed that … things (had) been stolen and two sets of keys,” Bennett said.
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Bennett then rushed to check her car, where he discovered she was also missing.
CCTV footage appears to show the woman exiting the elevators before getting into Bennett’s car and speeding away.
But it turned out the thief wasn’t done for the night.
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The thief then allegedly stole the wallet of a teenage girl training at Snap Fitness Manly West, before using the bank cards to spend hundreds of dollars at a local 7-Eleven convenience store.
The teen’s sister, who was too scared to be identified, said she learned about the alleged theft when she received a text message alert from her bank.
“She logged into her Commbank and saw that there were all these pending transactions from 7-Eleven,” the woman said.
The sisters then rushed to 7-Eleven where they watched CCTV footage.
In the footage, it appears to be the same woman seen on CCTV at Bennett’s gym, who allegedly purchased several items on their bank cards.
After posting the experience on social media, the girls soon realized they were just one of many people who had been bitten.
“We first thought it was just a specific thing where she was just opportunistic, we didn’t know it was a serial thing going on,” one of the girls said.
“I think it’s very clear that it’s very planned, she knows exactly what she’s doing.”
The alleged thief then used one of the gym passes she had collected the night before to enter Snap Fitness Milton where Vincent Van Zijl was training.
CCTV showed Van Zijl at a gym machine right next to the gym’s lockers, where he was unaware of the alleged robbery that occurred just a meter away from him.
“Yeah on the leg press and I see this lady come in, you wouldn’t think so. She was wearing workout gear,” Van Zijl said.
Within seconds, her bag would have been taken and the woman would have left the gym.
Van Zijl claimed he only realized after also receiving a message from his bank.
“I continued my training, then I got a notification on my phone that $150 was spent at a gas station,” Van Zijl said.
In a statement to A topical matterthe Queensland Police Service confirmed they were “exploring several leads” and that investigations were continuing “of thefts of incidents at fitness centers in the Brisbane area”.
Meanwhile, the victims of the alleged thief worry about the further damage that may be caused in the meantime.
“It’s just painful to know that she’s going to do this to another person now, it’s not just (a) unique, it’s not just me,” Van Zijl said.
“I was very shocked, just seeing how fast and professional they were,” Bennett said.
Brisbane detectives are urging anyone with information to call Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.
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