Not guilty plea from thief accused of targeting fitness centers

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- A man suspected of being a serial robber who targeted people at local gyms pleaded not guilty Monday to the charges in court.

Richard Barker entered the plea at his arraignment. He is charged with 16 counts including burglary, theft, and identity theft.

According to prosecutors, he followed his victims to two 24 Hour Fitness gyms in northeast Phoenix in a span of two months, and broke into their lockers. He allegedly would steal their belongings, including their car keys. In at least four cases, he's accused of stealing the cars.

Two cars were found by police, one was found for sale on craigslist, and the other was sold to another Valley man. Officers set up a sting, and said they found Barker with a stolen car, and items belonging to some of the victims.

Barker is expected back in court on March 3rd.