Three alleged criminals engaged in a scheme targeting Planet Fitness facilities in West Michigan, according to a police task force that focuses on pattern crimes in metro Grand Rapids.
As reported by Grand Rapids NBC affiliate WOOD, Ronta Emmanuelle Stone, 33, and Brian Keith Coleman, 31, both of Kalamazoo, are currently in the Kent County Correctional Facility, charged with conspiracy to conduct a criminal enterprise. A third suspect, Jasmine Allene Conley, 31, is charged with larceny in one of the Planet Fitness thefts.
Investigators say Stone obtained a membership to the chain of gyms under a fake name and used it to steal from locker rooms.
“During these incidents, Ronta Stone entered Planet Fitness and stole (a victim’s) vehicle keys, gained access to his vehicle and stole (his) wallet and credit cards,” wrote a detective in a probable cause affidavit filed in Kentwood District Court.
Court records show three Kent County Planet Fitness locations were targeted. Planet Fitness thefts occurred on June 5, 7, 11, 12 and 22. Additionally, the criminal enterprise case out of Kentwood lists the offense dates as April 8, 2023, through July 7, 2023, WOOD's Susan Samples reported.
Ronta Stone is also charged in Calhoun County in connection with a theft at the Planet Fitness gym at 294 Highland Avenue in Battle Creek.
“(The victim) stated that after his workout, he noticed that his car keys were not in his locker, where he had placed them before his workout,” wrote a detective in the Battle Creek affidavit. “He then went outside and found his car unlocked, which it wasn’t previously, and the keys in the center console. (He) then noticed that a Huntington debit card was missing from his vehicle. Later it was determined that there were two fraudulent charges on (his) account.”
After the alleged thefts, detectives say Stone would use the stolen cards to buy — or attempt to buy — high-dollar gift cards at stores, including Meijer, Target and Walmart.
At a court hearing in Battle Creek, Calhoun County prosecutor David Gilbert spoke of the breadth of the alleged scheme.
“All I can assume is he’s victimizing Planet Fitnesses across at least this area of the state,” Gilbert told the judge. “Whether it be just Kent County and Calhoun County or other places also. I think he’s a danger to the community at this point based on his criminal record and number of pending charges.”
When Stone was charged with conducting a criminal enterprise in September, court records show he was already out on bond in three other similar cases.
In Kent County, prosecutor Chris Becker utilized the state’s continued criminal enterprise law (CCE) to increase the potential penalties.
Most of the Planet Fitness customers WOOD interviewed said they use a personal combination lock to secure their belongings in lockers when working out.
“It’s simple,” said a gym-goer named Lawrence. “It’s a combination lock from the dollar store. So, it doesn’t have to be super expensive to keep your stuff safe.”
Another Planet Fitness customer, Cameron Sawicki, told WOOD he keeps his wallet, keys and water right next to him while working out.
“It’s not your simple breaking and entering. Whether it be joining a gym, working at a McDonald’s, they are gaining access to credit cards and financial information, through legitimate means initially, but they’re using it for illegitimate purposes,” said Becker, referring to a recent case in which employees at McDonald’s drive-thru windows were charged with copying customers’ credit card numbers.
Kimberly Maynor said she always secures her possessions at the gym, especially after hearing about thefts at the Battle Creek Planet Fitness.
“They’re like 20 (car) keys lined up on a wall,” explained Sawicki. “Not safe. Not good. It’s crazy. People just leave their keys right there.”