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Burglars smash windows, break in cars at Gulf Coast Town Center

Posted at 6:38 PM, Feb 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-17 18:38:58-05

FORT MYERS, Fla., - Lee County Sheriff's deputies are looking for suspects accused of targeting cars and smashing windows outside of LA Fitness in Fort Myers.

Deputies say thieves hit the gym parking lot at Gulf Coast Town Center Wednesday night and made off with more than $700 worth of stuff.

An LA Fitness employee tells Four In Your Corner they heard a car alarm go off around 9:30pm. That's when they went outside and saw two car windows smashed out.
"I don't ever think about that when I'm working out is my car gonna get broken into," said Allie Loeffer, a gym member at LA Fitness.

Deputies say the thieves stole a scientific calculator and house keys out of one car then took off with a Michael Kors purse and several credit cards out of another. The thieves used those credit cards at a 7-11 down the street moments later.

"It's a really crowded gym. Kinda surprising people would be doing that," said Evan Axelrod, a gym member.

It's not the first time thieves have targeted gym members. Last September, crooks broke into cars at Second Chance Fitness and Around the Clock Fitness in Port Charlotte.

"I try not to leave too much stuff in my vehicle, make sure it's locked at all times," said Jason Bates, a gym member. "It ought to be safe in a parking lot in the town center."

LA Fitness employees told deputies they noticed two suspicious men walking in the parking lot when the burglaries happened.

Gym goers say more patrols could help prevent future burglaries.

"Having a security car drive around maybe like once an hour, that would be nice," Loeffer said.

Others suggest parking lot cameras to monitor suspicious activity. LA Fitness employees say they're not aware of any plans to install cameras at this time.

"We just tell everybody to keep their cars locked and to put their possessions in the trunk or bring them inside. We have lockers inside so that's what we advise them to do," said Robert Spinney, with LA Fitness.

Gym employees also say mall security will be increasing patrols in the area, especially at night.

Deputies do not have a description of the suspects. If you have any information on the crimes, you are urged to call Crimestoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS.