Police: Bold thief targeting YMCA members

Police: Bold thief targeting YMCA members
SEATTLE -- Police say a bold thief targeted YMCA locker rooms around the region, stealing credit cards and cash while members worked out.

Police say Nolan Zahajko used a guest pass to get inside the YMCA of Snohomish County. Once he was past the counter, he allegedly rummaged through coat pockets and wallets. If he found car keys, police say he would go to the parking lot and burglarize the car.

"Specifically, he was looking for credit cards and once he found those he immediately went to nearby businesses to purchase gift cards," said Debbie Willis of the Monroe Police Department.

Zahajko allegedly used the stolen credit cards at Rite Aid, Fred Meyer, Lowe's, Big 5 and Staples.

Monroe Police worked with other law enforcement agencies to identify and track down Zahajko, who is now accused of stealing from YMCA locker rooms in Bellevue, Auburn, Kirkland, Bothell and Shoreline.

Jim Mercer said his car keys and credit card were stolen at a YMCA in Shoreline.

"They were real bold," Mercer said. "It was like three, four days in a row, then they weren't here for awhile."

Shoreline Police arrested Zahajko, but a judge later released him. Once he was back on the streets, police say the thefts continued.

"When people don't get the proper consequences for their actions, they continue and you can see this with the amount of agencies that this person is a suspect with," Willis said.

Zahajko was arrested again last week and charged in connection with the Monroe YMCA case. He's now being held at the Snohomish County Jail.

YMCA directors around the region are now posting signs to remind members to leave valuables at home and use extra caution in locker rooms.

Zahajko was the only person arrested in the Monroe case, but detectives believe he may have worked with other theives.