Newport Beach police are investigating a series of locker room robberies at businesses surrounding Fashion Island the Independent has learned.
The thefts have occurred at the 24-hour Fitness and The Island Hotel. Both businesses are located on Newport Center Drive.
Police have made no arrests in the case. Newport Police Department spokeswoman Kathy Lowe told the Independent that “investigation is ongoing” and that police “believe that the incidents are related based on the description of the suspect and the method used in the thefts.”
According to Lowe, two victims were targeted in the first theft that occurred on Sept. 6. That incident took place at 24-Hour Fitness Club at 600 Newport Center Drive.
The robber – a man described by police as male, white, approximately 40 years old, 6 feet 2 inches tall, weighing 200-240 pounds, with short hair or possibly shaved head – gained entry to the locker rooms at both the 24-hour Fitness Center and the Island Hotel, according to sources familiar with the investigation, by posing as a guest who had not yet checked in the hotel but asked to use the locker room facilities.
According to eyewitness accounts, the suspect also pretended to be making a business appointment before entering the locker room facilities. Once inside he gained access to people’s personal lockers, stealing their cell phones, wallets and other valuables.
According to Lowe, the “thefts were discovered shortly after they occurred and in both cases the victim’s credit cards were used immediately afterwards to make purchases at Fashion Island.”
A second incident took place at the Island Hotel only five days after the first theft at the 24-hour Fitness Club. The loss of personal property for both cases exceeds $4,000. The use of the victims’ credit cards to purchase a computer laptop and other items at Fashion Island retail stores is also part of the police investigation.
Local businesses in the Fashion Island area have been put on alert by police to be on the lookout for the suspect and if you have any information about the case you are urged to call the Newport Beach Police Department at 949-642-3717.