Weighty concern: Equipment stolen from fitness center

Sunday Times Newspapers


ALLEN PARK — The Community Center has experienced its first round of thefts since its opening five years ago.


Resident Freda Ditto announced during a recent City Council meeting that three separate sets of free weights had been stolen from the center the week before.


“Someone in our community brought it upon themselves to walk out of our Community Center with our weights,” Ditto said. “It concerns me that someone in our community would walk out of our fitness center and take equipment that is there for the use of everyone in the city.


“Not only did they disrespect our city and the people that use that facility, but they disrespected themselves.”


Two sets of weights went missing sometime after 1:30 p.m. Feb. 17; an additional set of weights was stolen sometime after 5:30 p.m. the next day.


All three sets of weights had gnarled silver grips and black, rubber-covered ends.


Ditto said there will be “no questions asked” if the weights are returned, but if someone doesn’t come forward, there may be consequences – including possible prosecution for theft.


Because of the thefts, Director of Parks and Recreation Tony Napolitano recently asked the festivities committee to consider installing security cameras inside the center, so that if another theft occurs he can review the tapes and get an idea of who is responsible.


He also has asked a retired Allen Park detective who frequents the center to keep an eye out, and to review the sign-in sheets for anything suspicious.


“We’re starting to lose equipment at the Community Center,” Napolitano said. “It is very, very frustrating, and I don’t understand it.”


However, he said, after he posted signs in the center saying the equipment had been stolen, a few residents have come forward to replace the weights.


“So on the other side of the coin, people are stepping up and willing to help by bringing stuff from home,” he said. “So there is a positive to come out of this. I really didn’t expect that.”


Councilwoman Beverly Kelley asked Napolitano how someone could take the weights without the center’s employees noticing.


“The free weights are in such a place that if you weren’t standing on top of them constantly, you wouldn’t notice,” he said. “They are just so easy to slip into a duffle bag.”


Councilman Felice Lalli defended the center employees saying they “do a good job.”


“Sometimes there are so many people there you can’t find a machine,” he said. “So it is hard to keep track of people walking in and out of there.”


Napolitano said anyone wishing to donate weights that are not being used can contact him at the Allen Park Community Center, (313) 928- 0770.