Jennifer McClain Accused of Rash of SoCal Thefts from Lady Gym Lockers

Irvine Police believe they have nabbed Southern California's prolific lady gym locker burglar, who has been linked to health-club heists in eight cities in Orange, San Diego and Los Angeles counties, including five alone in Irvine.

Jennifer McClain, 34, was arrested Wednesday by Irvine Police detectives at her La Palma home on suspicion of burglary and possession of stolen property, burglary tools and dangerous drugs.

From at least February through this past Monday, when a Costa Mesa club was burgled, McClain
is suspected of entering gym lockers, cutting locks while patrons worked out and walking out with wallets, purses
and car keys, according to a statement from Irvine Police Lt. Julia Engen, the department spokeswoman.

Detectives believe McClain often used the stolen credit cards at nearby stores before the victims discovered they had been stolen and that the suspect used to keys to break into cars to steal more items or, in at
least two instances, the cars themselves.

Her undoing came as the result of an alert Irvine gym employee, according Engen, who says after the club was hit the worker remembered a suspicious-acting person had handled a brochure in the establishment. She gave it to officers, a partial print was lifted from the document and the crime database linked it to McClain.

When a search warrant was served as her home at the time of the arrest, purses, wallets, credit cards and other personal belongings of those stung by gym burglaries were recovered–including a car that was stolen from the Costa Mesa job Monday.

Engen notes some property purchased with stolen credit cards was also found in the home, as was illegal drugs.

No word on stinky towels, though.

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Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.

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