Edmonton bandit breaks into gym, just to work out

Most people struggle to get motivated for even for a single hour of exercise. But one Edmonton man was willing to risk jail time, just to spend a night alone inside a gym — according to the facility's owner.

Gym intruder uses stationary bike, moves Bon Jovi cut-out, returns wearing ladies' clothing

The suspect calmly allowed himself to be handcuffed and escorted to the police car, but not before wiping his feet on the doormat. (Supplied )

Most people struggle to get motivated for even for a single hour of exercise. But one Edmonton man was willing to risk jail time, just to spend a night alone inside a gym — according to the facility's owner. 

"The police had never heard of anyone breaking into a gym just to work out for the evening," said Cheryl Schneider, the owner of No More Excuses Fitness, during an interview on CBC Radio's Edmonton AM Wednesday morning.

Schneider walked into the studio for her Monday morning class to find traces of an intruder.

The main breaker had been tripped, and the security alarms deactivated. Someone had picked the lock on the back door, and made their way inside overnight, Schneider said.

But it soon became clear,  this wasn't a typical break-and-enter. 

'Bizarre' scene 

Pricey gym equipment and office computers were untouched. The only items missing: a T-shirt branded with the gym's logo, an agility ladder, and a step counter.

Mud-caked construction boots had been placed carefully outside the front door, men's work overalls were folded in the foyer. 

Equipment had been moved around, and a huge cardboard cutout of Bon Jovi, which the gym displays as a mascot of sorts, had been moved across the room — and turned to face a wall. 

"He certainly kept it very clean, just moving different things, putting things into very neat piles" ... "It was a very bizarre scene," Schneider said.

She found a pair of cycling shoes and a water bottle by the spin area. And the microphone used for fitness classes was out. To her, it seems he made himself "right at home."  

Intruder returns, wearing ladies' gym clothes

"I guess he took our slogan — No More Excuses — quite literally," she said. 

After his work-out, the bandit appears to have used one of the gym's signature mint-scented towels to wipe down, placed it in the laundry basket, and refuelled with a chicken wrap from Tim Horton's, carefully dusting the crumbs and wrapper into the wastebasket. 

"It was very strange," said Schneider. "I think it was drug-induced."

The unwelcome intruder took a cardboard cut-out of Bon Jovi and turned it around to face the wall, before beginning his work-out routine. (Supplied )
 Within two hours, Schneider was showing a police officer around the ever-so-neatly stacked studio equipment and supplies that the burglar had left behind.  As they made their way to the back of the studio, Schneider turned around to find her uninvited guest had returned. 

"I look up and there he is, inside the studio, behind the door, and of course I screamed and thought: 'Holy crap! How did he get back in?' ... everything was locked as we were showing the police around, so either he had broken in again or had been hiding the whole time." 

The intruder was wearing ladies gym wear that he appeared to have rummaged out of the gym's lost and found bin. Schneider thinks he came back to retrieve his work clothes. 

'This is crazy'

She said the intruder was calm and cooperative as police handcuffed him and escorted him through the gym, to a police car waiting outside. But wouldn't leave before wiping his feet on the mat, so he wouldn't sully the studio floor. 

"The police officer was shaking his head, just saying 'this is crazy.'" 

Edmonton police have not responded to a request for comment. Schneider says charges are pending against the gym interloper

She's since beefed up security at the gym, replacing the locks and adding new deadbolts to all the doors.

And despite the hassle, Schneider says she has has to give the intruder some credit for good manners, and a dogged determination to get fit. 

"I've never heard of someone breaking in to work out at a studio. I guess we must be pretty good," Schneider said.

"Maybe he just wanted to come work for us, and needed some practice time. I wish all of our instructors did that once in awhile." 

With files from Ariel Fournier


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