CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – Earlier this week, we spoke with a woman who is trying to warn the community about many cars being broken into, often in broad daylight. It happened to her last weekend at Ballantynes gym.
WBTV contacted CMPD about crime data in the area after that viewer contacted us.
CMPD has confirmed that thefts from vehicles are occurring both in neighboring areas and at businesses in the South Division. This includes Ballantyne, Waverly, Arboretum, Quail Hollow and other neighborhoods.
“It was a complete shock; I just had no idea this was happening in this community,” said Jennifer Campbell of Ballantyne.
On Monday, we introduced you to Campbell, under whose care the Morrison Family Y was hacked.
“I didn’t know it was a known issue at the Y, so yes, I have a much smaller wallet and I carried it with me to class today,” Campbell said.
CMPD said the Morrison Family Y has seen a 150 percent increase in car thefts this year.
Figures show there were four thefts at this time last year and 10 this year.
“For car thefts, it’s more,” CMPD South Division Captain Chris Dozier said. “Once again this year, it’s been targeting these gym locations where they know how the people who come in and they know they have a long period of time where no one gets back in the car.”
Across the entire southern division, car break-ins are up 2 percent.
CMPD adds that 24 cases have been reported at fitness centers so far this year, a whopping 71 percent. more than last year.
|Fitness center||in 2021 Larceny from the car||in 2022 Larceny from the car|
|Harris YMCA, 5900 Quail Hollow Rd||0||1|
|Orange Theory Quail Corners, 8402 Park Rd||0||0|
|9 Round Fitness, 7510 Pineville Rd||0||0|
|Morrison Family YMCA, 9405 Bryant Farms Rd||4||11|
|Sarah YMCA, 15940 Brixham Hill Ave||3||1|
|LA Fitness, 12325 Copper Way||3||1|
|Crunch Fitness, 16045 Johnston Rd||0||1|
|Sports Connection, 11611 Ardrey Kell Rd||0||1|
|Lifetime Fitness, 11220 Golf Links Dr.||3||6|
|Orange Theory, 8038 Providence Rd||1||2|
“Thieves tend to target these areas because they know people go in for long periods of time and often don’t want to leave their belongings in the locker room, so they leave them in the car,” Dozier said.
Just because you go to the gym doesn’t mean you’re going to get hit. Police say all fitness centers are not targets; some have shown less crime this year. However, CMPD says they believe some of the incidents are coming from organized groups of people from outside the area.
“Once they spot a vehicle, they decide they’re going to target it, all they have to do is go up, hit the window quickly, they’ll smash it, grab the wallet and 10 seconds later they’re gone.” They can work an entire parking lot, multiple vehicles in just a few minutes and be out,” Dozier said.
Police tell WBTV that it’s difficult to catch these criminals because it’s a fast-paced crime, and they’re usually covered in hats, sunglasses and fleeing the scene quickly.
“Unless we get tag numbers from the cars and things like attaching something to the name, which we often can’t get, it’s very difficult,” Dozier said.
CMPD says when it notices spikes in thefts at fitness centers or other locations, it works with their security team to increase patrols in the area.
Police say it’s largely preventable, all it takes is an effort by the public not to leave things in their cars.
Earlier this week, YMCA Charlotte released a statement about the recent incident, saying:
“While we are disappointed to hear that a member has experienced a theft from their vehicle on our property lot, we offer safety measures and reminders to all who visit our units. At the branch where the incident occurred, we have posted signs throughout the parking lot and at the branch entrances reminding members and visitors not to leave valuables in their vehicle. We offer free lockers to our members as well as locks that can be borrowed. We encourage visitors to us and all public facilities to keep these reminders in mind CMPD Safety Tips. The safety and security of the people we serve is our top priority.
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