UPDATE: YMCA Looking into Security Upgrades Following Car Thefts

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Staff members at Rockford’s YMCA are now being trained to look out for criminals after suspects were taking keys from gym bags and stealing cars in the parking lot.

The YMCA’s executive director says she notified all members of the thefts. They’ve also put up signs and are working with police to train staff to watch for any suspicious activity.

“Most importantly, what we really want people to remember is to make sure that they don’t leave their belongings unattended while they’re here,” said Executive Director Trisha Tousant.

Tousant says the ‘Y’ will also add more security around the building.

ROCKFORD (WIFR) – A group of thieves in Rockford are caught in the act of stealing cars out of the parking lot of the Rockford YMCA all while the owners were inside working out.

Detectives say the young man they arrested is 14 and had other young teens helping him out. The group was taking keys out of the Y’s locker room. Police say the victims would set them down on a ledge or bench, walk away and that’s when these teens would strike.

It happened 4 times last month. Officers stopped by to alert YMCA employees and a few nights after that, a manager caught three young men trying door handles and using the key fobs to find the right car.

Rockford police say we can take simple steps to not become a victim anywhere we park our car.

“Burglars are looking for that easy opportunity. The last thing they want to do si raise attention to themselves by breaking out a window or prying a door, so they’re just going to go through the parking lots r the neighborhoods and just try doors and once they get the door unlocked, they’re going to go and see what’s there,” said Lt. Pat Hoey with the Rockford Police Department.

The keys weren’t taken out of locked lockers but were left out.

Police say that since the group was busted, car thefts from the ‘Y’ have stopped.

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