Deputies say fitness center break-ins may be part of larger criminal ring

This vehicle was seen driving around a Bally's fitness center. Deputies said two men inside stole purses from cars in the parking lot Feb. 6, 2014.

This vehicle was seen driving around a Bally's fitness center. Deputies said two men inside stole purses from cars in the parking lot Feb. 6, 2014.

DENVER — Authorities in Jefferson County are on the lookout for a group of criminals who have been breaking into cars parked at fitness centers and stealing purses and other items.

The most recent burglary happened Feb. 6, said Jacki Kelley of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

Two cars were broken into at the Bally Total Fitness on W. Boles Avenue.

Two victims told deputies that someone had broken their car window and took a purse, Kelley said. Both of the break-ins happened around 3:15 p.m. and within 30 minutes of each other.

Surveillance video from the store found a black SUV “casing” the parking lot, Kelley said. It’s believed the thieves were driving Dodge Journey.

“The break-ins at Bally Total Fitness are believed to be connected to a series of criminal trespasses at a variety of fitness centers across the metro area,” Kelley said. “At least 38 similar crimes, with similar circumstances, have been committed in the last two months.”

STORY: Identity theft ring on crime spree from Parker to Boulder

In most cases the thieves used the victims ID at a local bank using the drive-thru to withdraw cash.