Thieves dressed as women steal car keys from gym lockers and drive off, Georgia cops say

Jared Gilmour

Georgia gym-goers might want to invest in locks.

Police in suburban Atlanta are looking for two teenagers suspected of dressing up in wigs and women’s clothing to open fitness center memberships — then raiding lockers to steal customers’ credit cards, keys and cars.

Authorities in Georgia’s Gwinnett County said Friday that the pair have struck at four gyms throughout the area, including a Planet Fitness in Stone Mountain, a Gold’s Gym in Lawrenceville, an LA Fitness in Buford and another LA Fitness in Peachtree Corners.

In each instance, police said that “a group of young men (dressed as women) would visit local fitness centers seeking gym memberships. While they were there, they would steal car keys from unsuspecting customers and then steal their vehicles in the parking lot.”

The rash of thefts happened from Nov. 27 to Dec. 28, according to police.

“Some of them left their credit cards in their cars,” police said of the victims. “Shortly after the vehicle thefts, the customers would notice fraudulent purchases made using the stolen credit cards.”

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Police said some of the stolen cars have been tracked down in Atlanta.

Gwinnett County Cpl. Michele Pihera said the teens have rifled through both men’s and women’s locker rooms, FOX 5 Atlanta reported.

“They’re just going in, stealing the keys, stealing the car, probably taking that car somewhere else so they can rummage through it and ultimately using the credit cards against the victims’ wishes,” Pihera told the TV station.

A detective identified the suspects as two teens from Atlanta: Tarquinnious Mack, 17, and Dequavis Smith, 18, according to Gwinnett police..

“In all of these cases, although they were dressed as women, not every time they were dressed the same way,” Pihera told CBS46. “They may have a different wig on, they may have different clothing on.”

Police said both teens are wanted on felony theft warrants.

“Their current whereabouts are unknown,” police said, adding that detectives are “looking into the possibility that other suspects could be involved in this crime series.”

Mack is linked to similar crimes in other counties throughout Georgia, FOX 5 reported.

“Covington police say he stole a truck and then used the victim’s credit card to buy a thousand dollars worth of gift cards at a Kroger,” according to the TV station.

Police in Chatham County, which includes Savannah, said earlier this week that Mack and two other suspects are wanted for questioning after a string of Planet Fitness thefts.

Mack “is often spotted on surveillance cameras wearing wigs,” Chatham County police said.

They also offered advice to anyone visiting a fitness center.

“Detectives urge gym-goers to practice some common sense safety measures whenever they visit a gym or business with lockers for storing valuables,” Chatham County police said in a Facebook post. “First, do not leave valuables in plain sight in your vehicle and always make sure to lock your vehicle. If you use a locker inside the business, always make sure to lock it. When possible, bring your own lock to use.”