BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — If you leave your keys at “the desk” when you work out at area gyms, you may want to come up with another plan. Boca Raton Police nabbed an LA Fitness employee who allegedly took the keys that a member left — for safe keeping — behind the desk, then burglarized his car.
Incredibly, the employee was later in an accident, and thanks to great detective work by Boca PD and the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Vincent Merulla, 37, of Deerfield Beach was taken into custody.
According to Boca Police:
On Saturday, April 6 at 9:50 a.m., Boca Raton Police officers took a report of a burglary to an automobile at L.A. Fitness, 4950 Technology Way.
The victim told officers that his cell phone and money clip, which held cash, two credit cards, his driver’s license and social security card, were taken from his locked car. There were no signs of forced entry into the vehicle and the victim said he used the key fob to lock and unlock the car.
A Boca Raton detective discovered that on the same day as the burglary, a male named Vincent Merulla had been involved in a crash on Military Trail in Deerfield Beach and was found to be in possession of the burglary victim’s credit cards and social security card. The detective spoke with the Broward Sheriff’s deputy who investigated the crash and he sent the detective a picture of a cell phone found at the crash site. The detective sent the picture to the victim who identified it as his phone, noting a unique mark on the screen protector.
Detectives went to Merulla’s residence and he agreed to speak with them. At first, Merulla, an LA Fitness janitor, said he found the victim’s belongings in a bag when he was doing a perimeter search of the LA Fitness property. He then changed his story. Merulla said he watched as the victim put his keys behind the desk at the gym, retrieved them when the victim walked away and went to the parking lot. Merulla utilized the key fob to identify the car and removed the victim’s belongings. He then returned the keys to the desk. Merulla also admitted to using the credit cards.
On Monday, April 22, detectives arrested Merulla and charged him with burglary to an auto, possession of a stolen credit card and fraudulent use of a credit card.