April 1, 2023

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Published: 2022-08-04 16:45:00
Updated: 2022-08-04 17:56:26
Posted August 4, 2022 4:45 p.m. EDT
Updated August 4, 2022 5:56 p.m. EDT
By Monica Casey, WRAL Durham reporter
Fitness studios in the Triangle are on alert after a serial thief has stolen from clients’ lockers during workout classes.
One studio in Durham is sharing their story with WRAL News to warn other small businesses.
The Sweat Lab opened its Durham location in 2013 and its Raleigh location in 2021.
“This is the first time this has ever happened to us in 9 years. No one’s ever stolen anything, ever,” owner Chris Bruce said.
Wednesday night’s theft was a gut punch.
A new client signed up for a 5:45 fitness class and said she was waiting on her sister to bring her shoes. When the class started, she instead stole wallets and keys from six other clients’ lockers – then tried to cash out at a nearby Walmart.
“People were kind of freaking out, you know. One client had her keys locked in her car,” Bruce said. “It was just a scramble after class.”
The studio offers three types of work-out classes, building connection between mind and body.
“I like getting to know the clients,” Bruce said. “I really like to see the clients grow.”
Studio manager Amanda Becker said they’ve worked hard to create an atmosphere of trust.
“Even though we do offer locks if they ask for one, a lot of clients trust us to keep their stuff safe,” Becker explained.
Unfortunately, that trust is now broken. Clients will be required to lock up their items.
“We feel like we have to be on guard when new people enter to make sure that they are who they say they are,” Becker said. “We are updating our safety policies.”
The Sweat Lab says they are not the only business dealing with this scam.
“We are the third confirmed that I know about, but that’s just from talking to studios,” Becker said. “There could be others.”
WRAL News confirmed another studio in Durham was hit just an hour before The Sweat Lab, in the exact same way.
Becker and Bruce want to share their story to protect others in the fitness community.
“It feels like a little punch when you’re down, when we’re all just trying to do our best out here and somebody’s deciding to take advantage of our clientèle and our studio,” Becker said.
WRAL News has reached out to the Durham Police Department about the status of this investigation, whether they are working with RPD on similar investigations, and how many businesses have been impacted. We have also reached out to the Raleigh Police Department to inquire about similar incidents under investigation in Raleigh.
We are still waiting to hear back from both agencies.
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