National crime syndicate theft ring suspect arrested in Mill Creek

MILL CREEK — An organized crime group has been targeting LA Fitness locations on the West Coast, and one of the suspects turned up in Mill Creek.

The 30-year-old man from Hungary was being held this week at the Lynnwood City Jail for investigation of making false statements to police. He also is believed to be connected to cases of theft and identity theft spanning multiple states, according to the Mill Creek Police Department.

A gym employee recognized the man in the lobby Sept. 16 from a company memo about the thefts, according to the arrest report. Mill Creek police found the man nearby on Main Street, pretending to be a jogger.

He “matched the description of an individual associated with a national crime syndicate theft ring,” according to a news release.

The name listed for the man on the gym’s bulletin turned out to be bogus. He claimed he was Romanian, something else the federal government was able to disprove.

He also gave officers “several false names and countries of origin,” the release says.

The man initially was booked into the Marysville jail as a “John Doe.” Police found his actual name by running his fingerprints, according to the release. He later was transferred to the Lynnwood jail, and Mill Creek police have contacted immigration authorities.

The crime syndicate is associated with thefts at LA Fitness locations in California, Oregon and Washington. No other details about the syndicate or the man were given in the initial reports made public so far.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

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