BROWN COUNTY - A Chicago man has been charged with stealing credit cards from health club locker rooms in Brown County.
Nicholas Soteras, 42, faces eight total counts in connection with the case. Investigators first reported the thefts last October , informing health clubs of the crimes and providing a description of the suspect.
A Chicago man has been charged with breaking into locked lockers at Brown County area health clubs.
Sheriff's officials say surveillance video links 42-year-old Nicholas Soteras, of Chicago, to breaks-ins from September through last week.
A few hours after a March workout at the Bellevue YMCA, Ken Loehlein wasn't sure if he locked his locker like he normally does.
"After lunch when I was at the gas station, I didn't have my two credit cards," said Loehlein. "I thought what is going on."
Loehlein called to cancel the cards, but some damage had already been done. He says someone tried to make about $3,700 worth of purchases at four different stores, including three in Sheboygan County.
"Even if I did forget to click the lock on my lock, it still doesn't give anybody the right to go in my locker and steal my credit cards, so I was angry about it," said Loehlein.
Loehlein isn't alone. The Bellevue YMCA says about a handful of people had credit cards stolen. Similar incidents were reported at Western Racquet and Fitness Club in Ashwaubenon.
Last Thursday YMCA employees called police when they spotted a man who they thought was the same person responsible for the thefts.
"We have security cameras in our building so he was identified before, so everyone has been in awareness of what he looks like and wears the same thing every time," said Stacy Ryan, the YMCA Member Experience Director at the Bellevue location.
Sheriff's officials were able to arrest Soteras shortly after they say he stopped at Western Racquet. Authorities say Soteras matched the surveillance video from the health clubs and a Target store in Sheboygan Falls.
"This would not have happened without the fabulous teamwork that we have," said Ryan. "He was immediately identified and followed and stopped from doing what he typically did in the past."
Sheriff's officials say it is important to remember even locked items aren't always safe and people should only bring items to the gym that can easily be replaced.
Authorities say the thefts did stop for a few months. Their investigation revealed Soteras was in jail in Illinois during those months for unlawful possession of credit cards.
Soteras now has eight theft charges against him in Brown County. He is being held on a $50,000 cash bond.
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