Police across Berks County are stepping up patrols near fitness center parking lots to stop a rash of car break-ins.
The move comes after several cars were targetedTuesday while parked in the parking lots of L.A. Fitness in Wyomissing, Hillcrest Racquet Club in Mt. Penn, and Flying Hills Racquetball and Fitness Club in Cumru Township, among others.
"It's just prolific right now," said detective Michael Godshall, Exeter Twp. Police Dept. "It's kind of an epidemic issue that we're dealing with."
At Gold's Gym, in the 2400 block of Perkiomen Avenue, management says four cars were targeted. Now they are trying to inform members so their valuables will be protected.
"Protocol for me is just to get the word out as much as possible," said Adam Schmidt, general manager. "Immediately, the word goes out on social media, letting people know that these break-ins have occurred."
Police say the thieves wait in the parking lot, mostly for women, to put their purse in the trunk.
"Then they go right from the stolen purse location to local retail establishments, and they're hitting Walmarts, Targets, and stores like that. And immediately using the credit cards, right away," Godshall said.
Police say the criminals have been described as two black males.
They also say the car they were using was a black Ford Explorer with the stolen license plate: DFX-3403.
If you know anything about these break-ins, you can contact Crime Alert: Berks County, anonymously.
Information leading to an arrest could earn you a cash reward.
The number is: 877-373-9913.