Police lay charges after northern suburbs gym thefts

Detectives from Maribyrnong Crime Investigation Unit detectives have charged a woman following a number of alleged thefts from gymnasiums in Melbourne’s north-west.

The teens were arrested at a gym in Braybrook on Thursday night following a number of thefts earlier this week.

An 18-year-old girl from Footscray has since been charged with armed robbery in relation to an alleged incident that occurred in Footscray on 5 April.

She was remanded and appeared at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Further charges are expected in relation to the alleged gym thefts.

A 13-year-old Brookefield girl was yesterday charged with two counts of burglary and theft, theft of motor vehicle and bail offences.

She will appear at a children’s court at a later date.

Quotes attributed to Detective Sergeant Mark Anderson from the Maribyrnong Crime Investigation Unit.

“We are continuing to see small groups of two or three youths target fitness centres across Melbourne to steal valuables such as wallets, purses, phones and keys.

“Typically, these offenders enter businesses in pairs or groups by posing as gym members or tail-gating customers through entry points.

“Once inside, one will use the equipment, posing as a customer, while the other seeks out unsecured valuables or opens lockers and steals items.

“This offending has led to serious high-harm offences being committed, which have a significant impact on the community’s safety and feelings of safety. That’s why our detectives have been working around the clock to investigate these crimes and hold offenders to account.”

“We are continuing to work with fitness centres to address security issues and implement crime prevention measures such as lockable storage devices and CCTV.”

In addition to the work police and gyms are doing, Victoria Police is asking the community to exercise caution and secure their valuables when attending gyms and leisure centres.

• Do not leave your bags unattended

• Where available, use the secure lockers provided

• Do not allow anyone to use your access pass, even if they have ‘forgotten’ theirs

• If you witness suspicious behaviour, alert a staff member immediately

• For immediate police attendance, call Triple Zero (000).

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