DORAL, Fla. (CBS4) – CBS4 News has learned of a safety alert after a rash of burglaries at an LA Fitness Center in Doral and at other facilities around Miami-Dade and Broward.
Police records show that there have been 43 burglaries outside the LA Fitness facility on N.W. 41st St. and 100th Ave. Most of them have involved cars that thieves have broken into.
CBS4’s Peter D’Oench discovered shattered glass all around the facility’s parking lot that customers said were the remains of car windows that thieves had broken.
Police told D’Oench that other LA Fitness Centers in Miami-Dade have been struck in a similar fashion. Police also said one center in Broward even put a police decoy car outside it as a crime deterrent.
“This shouldn’t have happened to me, but it’s also happened to other people as well,” said Amanda Ferrer, whose car was broken into a month ago outside the fitness center.
“I went to the gym for a few hours and when I came out, I found out that my purse and wallet had been stolen along with credit cards and when I checked my bank I found that $200 was missing,” Ferrer told D’Oench.
“It upsets me, but I got my money back,” said Ferrer. “But one person I know had his car stolen. They found it in Kendall.”
“I came to ask them what happened and the people inside the center told me they had no cameras,” said Ferrer. “I would think for the $25 you pay each month, you should have some protection of your car.”
Employees inside the LA Fitness Center declined to answer questions, but referred D’Oench to LA Fitness Corporate Headquarters, where a telephone message was left asking for comment. So far, there has been no response.
Doral Police Chief Ricardo Gomez said that people have a responsibility to be aware of their surroundings and not leave valuable items out in plain sight. They should be tucked away in trunks or in LA Fitness Lockers, said Gomez.
“It’s terrible to come here to have a good time and then have to worry about this stuff,” said LA Fitness Center customer Enrique Barreto. “Just be aware of your surroundings and don’t leave stuff in your car that’s valuable.”
“I wish there were security guards here,” said customer Carlos Charinga. “That might help.”
“I plan to not leave any valuable that anyone can see,” said customer Isabel Contreras. “It’s a shame that this happens,” said another customer, Gladys Rosario. “But what can you do? It’s part of the times. Just be careful.”
Chief Gomez told D’Oench that the LA Fitness Center does not have surveillance cameras outside the building and he said as far he knows, there are no suspects.
If you know anything about these crimes, call Miami-Dade Crimestoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).