General Crime

* Shantinee Martinez Allegedly Connected to More Burglaries of 24 Hour Fitness and Bally’s Total Fitness Gyms

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Authorities said today the young woman and teenager arrested earlier this month for stealing wallets, car keys and vehicles from South Bay fitness centers hit up two additional gyms during a three-day burglary spree.  In the investigation following the pair’s arrest, Detective Sgt. Ryan Elder of the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office connected the woman and the girl to burglaries at two more fitness centers in San Jose and Milpitas.  The investigation also produced evidence that there may be several other burglary rings in the Bay Area that steal items from cars and locker rooms while people work out at their gyms, Elder said  Santa Clara County sheriff’s deputies arrested Shantinee Martinez, 18, and a 16-year-old girl around 1 a.m. July 4. The pair, along with four other teenage passengers, were spotted in a Ford F-150 truck reported stolen from a 24 Hour Fitness in San Jose several days earlier. Authorities searched Martinez and the juvenile and found a variety of driver’s licenses, credit cards and car keys. Investigators connected some of the items to a pair of fitness center robberies. Martinez and the girl, whose name has been withheld because of her age, allegedly visited the 24 Hour Fitness at 375 N. Capitol Ave. and a Bally’s Total Fitness at 1570 Hamilton Ave. in San Jose posing as potential clients. The pair would ask to tour the facility or use the restroom to gain access to the women’s locker room, where they stole items from unlocked lockers, according to the sheriff’s office. However, Martinez and the girl had other wallets and items that did not belong to patrons at these two health clubs. When Elder began the follow-up investigation, he received more than 50 calls from people across the Bay Area, reporting items stolen from them at a gym. Many of these reported thefts were not connected to Martinez and the girl, Elder said, so he forwarded information to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.  Elder also received several calls from yoga facilities in San Jose and Los Gatos describing a woman who would create a distraction while another suspect stole purses, he said. The stolen checks and credit cards were used as far away as San Francisco. Tips from callers also linked Martinez and the girl to burglaries at another Bally’s, at 2920 Aborn Square Road in San Jose, and a Fitness USA Supercenter gym at 1800 Clear Lake Ave. in Milpitas, according to Elder.  All four of the burglaries happened between July 1 and July 3, he said. Most of the victims’ credit cards were used extensively in the hours following their theft, according to Elder. Surveillance film captured the juvenile using the stolen cards at Target locations in San Jose and Morgan Hill, he said. In one video the juvenile appears with an “entourage” of teenage girls, Elder said. He believes the group of young girls assisted with other stolen credit card purchases. “It’s not an isolated incident,” he said. “They did some serious damage and I believe they were involved in other cases.” The supplemental investigation materials for this case are being delivered to the district attorney’s office Wednesday, Elder said. He was unsure how the new evidence would impact the charges the pair will face. “It also gives the victim a little bit of satisfaction that the person that stole from them has been caught,” he said.

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