Luxury-geared thief

The Houstonian deals with crime in the men's locker room

The Houstonian deals with crime in the men's locker room

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Are luxury club locker rooms a haven for thieves?

On a recent sunny Saturday, a dark plot unfolded at the tony Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa. According to an email alert sent from regional director Mark Stevens to Houstonian Club members, a male entered the campus and stole cash and belongings from nine lockers inside the Men's Associate Locker Room.

"We have reason to believe that he blended in with other members as he dressed in workout clothes, utilized the locker room facility as a member would and scouted out potential victims," Stevens wrote in the email to club members. According to the email, the thief has been identified, and together with the club's "Loss Prevention team" and the Houston Police Department, the Houstonian is working on capturing the suspect.

Supposedly the character arrived at the club in a taxi and gained access to the pool area by jumping a fence, after which he used a device to open lockers without noise or apparent damage. He left from the club via the front desk, where he asked for a taxi at the front entrance.

This is the second incident of this type within the Men's Associate Locker room, and Stevens' crew believes the same thief is involved in both. He suggests that the thief has hit other local luxury clubs with identical crimes — but notes in the email,"It is my belief that we have the absolute strongest membership in the City and altogether, I think we can work together to eliminate any possibility of this type of behavior in our Club."

Over the past eight years, the Houstonian has implemented controlled points of entry, hired extra staff, decreased access doors and launched that Loss Prevention program. Whether tougher measures are on the way is yet to be confirmed.

"I just hope this doesn't mean that they put the creepiest security guards back in the locker room and showers," Houtonian member Jeff Hoffman tells CultureMap, referring to security measures put in place after a theft incident a couple of years ago. Stevens had not returned a CultureMap call for comment at the time of this story's posting.