Smash and grabs reported at Valley gym

Posted: Updated:
SURPRISE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

A Valley fitness club has become a target for burglars who are breaking into cars in the parking lot. Surprise police say the suspect is not shy about these smash and grabs and works fast, especially if anything of value is in plain sight.

In the latest case, a woman's purse was snatched and credit card swiped within 20 minutes. Detectives are hoping someone recognizes a surveillance still photo that was released of the female suspect. Police say she's wanted in connection with several recent car break-ins outside a Mountainside Fitness in the 15400 block of West Bell Road. The surveillance image was captured just 20 minutes after police believe she smashed out two car windows in the lot and used a stolen credit card at a Valero convenience store about two miles away.

"Unfortunately the victims had left some items in the car that made it worthwhile and a crime of opportunity for the suspects," said Sgt. Norman Owens with the Surprise Police Department.

Detectives are looking into the possibility that other Mountainside Fitness clients in cities including Peoria have been targeted. Police say often times, gym-goers choose to leave valuables in locked cars rather than a gym locker, making them an easy target. Police say best advice is to lock your vehicle, never leave valuables (especially in plain sight) and park in a well-lit area.

As a reminder, Mountainside employees are also warning members after the string of break-ins. "When I saw the signs I questioned what had happened and they said there were some break-ins, so just another reminder not to leave anything in the car," said gym member Sterling.

Police are hoping the suspect, believed to be driving a silver-colored Ford pickup truck. If you have any information that may help identify this suspect, contact Detective Kristy Coats with the Surprise Police Department at (623) 222-4316 or email atkristy.coats@surpriseaz.gov. When calling; please reference Incidents #150103867 & 150103868.

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