July 22, 2008

TVs Swiped From Robbinsdale Health Club

By Tim Harlow, Star Tribune, Minneapolis

Jul. 22--A sign inside the Robbinsdale Snap Fitness tells those who are riding exercise bikes or running on treadmills that TVs are coming soon.

Replacement TVs that is.

The store in the Robin Center mall at 4070 Lakeland Av. N. had four 32-inch flat screens mounted to the wall until last Friday when just after midnight somebody slipped in the door, and carted them out in less time than it takes to finish a routine workout.

Police have no arrests and have no suspects yet. But Robbinsdale Police Captain Steve Smith said it's possible that the theft might be related to those at other Snap Fitness locations.

In the past three months, thieves have called on Snap Fitness locations in Minneapolis, Lilydale and Woodbury, said Bill Rodriguez, vice president of the Chanhassen-based fitness company.

Smith said it's not clear how the thief entered the Robbinsdale workout center. Like the other Snap Fitness stores in the Twin Cities, only members with electronic cards can gain access to the facilities, which are open 24 hours. In the Robbinsdale case, somebody used a card to gain entry, but police are unsure if the card had been lost, stolen or perhaps copied. Police don't believe the person to whom the card is registered is a suspect, Smith said.

Rodriguez said the cards are "chip smart and carry distinct information" and can not be copied. He thinks the card had been lost or stolen.

Televisions being stolen from health clubs is not a problem unique to Snap Fitness, which began operations in 2004. Nonetheless, the Snap Fitness corporate office did issue a memo to operators of its Twin Cities stores to alert them of the burglaries, and to have them ask police to keep a closer eye on their stores during hours when fewer people are using the clubs.

The TVs stolen in Robbinsdale are valued at $2,500. Smith had only a vague description of the lone male suspect who surveillance cameras showed was wearing a hooded shirt.

Police welcome calls from anybody who has information about any of the Snap Fitness thefts, Smith said. The Robbinsdale police department phone number is 763-531-1120.


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