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Sirens & Gavels

Suspect arrested in fitness center thefts

Detectives have identified a suspect in a series of thefts at fitness centers in Spokane and Kootenai counties.

James D. Tilley, 28, was arrested Tuesday on 16 felony charges related to gym locker break-ins and car prowlings at gyms across the region, including at Spokane Community College and Whitworth University. Other agencies, including police in Post Falls and Coeur d'Alene, are investigating similar incidents.

Detective Mark Stewart believes Tilley would steal items from lockers, including car keys that he'd use to prowl vehicles in the parking lot. Stolen items included jewelry and a gun that has been recovered.

Cour documents say the formal charges relate to break-ins at the Valley Fitness Center, 14210 E. Sprague Ave., on March 10, April 5, April 13 and May 8 and Global Fitness, 9233 E. Montgomery Ave., on April 19 and May 17, as well as thefts at the Whitworth University men's aquatic center on April 25.He's also accused of breaking into a car at Whitworth on May 11, then pawning a laptop he'd stolen.

Police identified Tilley as a suspect after an employee at Global Fitness obtained the license plate of the thief's car on May 17, and police traced it to the mother of Tilley's girlfriend.

A sheriff's deputy realized TiIley matched the description of the thief, and witnesses identified Tilley through a photo montage.

Stewart connected Tilley to the use or attempted use of stolen credit cards and also viewed surveillance video from the Zip Trip at West 10th Avenue and South Maple Street that showed Tilley arriving at the location with a backpack just before a citizen found backpack there with stolen wallets and other items taken in the gym thefts.

Police are recommending Tilley's girlfriend, Lindsay K. Nickerson, 27, who they believe drove Tilley to and from many of the break ins, also be charged. She has not yet been arrested.


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