Locker shocker

Locker shocker
VICTIM: Ms Jackeline Goh lost her iPhone 5 and about $100 cash even though she secured the gym locker with a number combination lock.

Yoga practitioners often emphasise on the search for inner peace.

Ironically for two women, that peace was insidiously stolen last year when their gym lockers were broken into.

According to statistics from the police, thefts at fitness centre lockers have more than doubled in the past year.

In 2013, there were about 30 reported cases of locker theft, but by the end of last year, there were more than 60 cases, said a police spokesman.

Common items stolen include wallets, phones and cash.

Freelance make-up artist Jackeline Goh, 30, was attending an evening yoga class last June at True Yoga in Pacific Plaza when misfortune struck.

Before class, she left her belongings in a locker and secured the locker with a number combination lock.

"The gym has a policy that we must bring our own locks, though they discourage us from using number combination locks. But I felt it's more convenient as I won't have to carry a key to class," Ms Goh said.

An hour later, she returned to find her lock opened and dangling from the locker's door.

"I was shocked. The first thing I did was to look for my mobile phone, since I didn't put it in my bag when I went for class," she said.

"I searched my entire bag but it wasn't there."

Ms Goh said she lost her iPhone 5 and about $100 cash, adding that she made a police report shortly after.

But it wasn't just about the material possessions.

For months after, she was paranoid about losing her things and would take her mobile phone with her everywhere, including yoga classes.

"I stopped going for a while, too, because the entire experience brought back bad memories, and it was no point as I couldn't concentrate on the classes while worrying about my belongings," she said.

Separately, risk consultant Sharon Leong, 37, had her locker broken into at the same gym last October.

Right before her hour-long evening yoga class, she went to an ATM and withdrew $500.

At the gym, she left her belongings in a locker close to the entrance and went for her class.

Her locker had also been secured with a number combination lock.

"When I came back an hour later, I saw that the lock had been tampered with," she said.

Everything in the bag was intact, except the $500 in cash.

"My mind went blank. I couldn't quite remember what was in my bag and what wasn't, so I kept going through my belongings," Ms Leong said.

Responding to queries from The New Paper, a True Yoga spokesman said it had four cases of locker theft last year. All these incidents involved lockers secured with combination locks.

"True Yoga has been working closely with the police in terms of effectively implementing safety measures at our centres.

"However, we are unable to install CCTVs within the locker rooms as the modesty of our members cannot be compromised," she said, adding that staff members regularly patrol the locker rooms and are trained to look out for suspicious characters.

It was no point as I couldn't concentrate on the classes while worrying about my belongings.

This article was first published on Feb 2, 2015.
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