CHICAGO (CBS) — From pumping iron to running after a thief. The Morning Insiders heard two extremely similar stories, and discovered a disturbing pattern at XSport Fitness gyms.

CBS 2’s Lauren Victory fought to get crime data, and learned it’s happened hundreds of times before.

Marc Donahue and Nick Raschke shared similar tales of falling victim to thieves on their first day working out at different gyms owned by XSport Fitness.

Donahue said he left his wallet and wedding ring locked in his car, and locked his clothes and keys in a locker in the gym in Logan Square.

“I start getting fraud alerts while still on the treadmill that I was getting $500, $600 expenses at a GameStop 15 to 20 minutes away,” Donahue said. “I immediately ran to my locker and realized that the lock was gone. Thumbed through it, and my keys were gone. Ran upstairs to notice my car door was unlocked, and my wallet and ring was gone.”

Donahue described the aftermath with XSport staff.

“It was almost as if, instantaneously, every single one of them when I said that I’d just been robbed in this gym, that one looked left and up, the other one looked right and down,” he said. “Each one of them looked in the other direction but me, as if I didn’t just alert them that I was robbed.”

Raschke reported a nearly identical experience on his first day at the XSport in the South Loop.

“I was working out for like 10-15 minutes, and I got an alert on my phone, and I was like, ‘That’s kinda weird,’” he said. “So I went downstairs, and I could see that my lock was partially open, and I was like, ‘Oh, man.’”

He said his backpack was still there, but his wallet was gone, and within about an hour, someone had made about $3,000 in charges on his cards, including several hundred dollars at GameStop.

Raschke said gym employees weren’t fazed when he reported the theft of his wallet.

“I went to the management, and they said, ‘Oh, not again,’” Raschke said.

CBS 2 asked the Chicago Police Department for records of all theft reports at both XSport locations since 2016. At the Logan Square location, officers opened 165 investigations for theft, auto theft, or stolen credit cards since the beginning of 2016. Police opened 140 such investigations at the South Loop location during the same time frame, meaning someone is getting robbed almost once a week at each gym.

The similarities in the Raschke’s and Donahue’s thefts – from their wallets being stolen on their first day at the gym to the thieves using their cards at GameStop – were striking.

“They have a system down. They know exactly where they’re going,” Raschke said.

Police took a look at CBS 2’s findings, and agreed there was a pattern of reported incidents at the XSport gyms, but investigators stopped short of calling it an organized theft ring at this point.

XSport Fitness did not respond to multiple calls and emails requesting comment.

 

Lauren Victory