Ring of crooks targets Tampa gyms, smashes in car windows to steal valuables

8 On Your Side

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A Tampa woman learned a hard lesson after a visit to the gym.

Suzanne Depaoli said she came of the YMCA in New Tampa in late January to find her car window smashed in and her purse gone.

“I put my gym bag in the back of my car, opened up my car and I saw all this glass, and I’m looking up and looked over and the whole thing was smashed in,” she said.

That wasn’t the worst of it. It turned into an identity theft nightmare.

“This happened about 8:30 in the morning. By about 9, there was $5,000 on my credit cards,” she said.

Since then, she has fought to get her money back, including an $8,000 cashiers check she had in her purse from a business transaction.

“I was planning to go to the bank that morning,” she said.

Depaoli said she tried to warn the bank so the check couldn’t be cashed but was told they had to conduct a 90-day investigation.

Days later, the check was cashed in South Florida.

Law enforcement said this type of crime is not uncommon and gyms are often targets. Locking your vehicle is not enough. Don’t leave valuables in the car and if you must, lock purses and bags in the trunk before you arrive at the gym.

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