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Published: July 30, 2008 06:30 am ShareThisPrintThis
Thief who targeted people using gym is sentenced
By Julie Manganis
Staff writer

DANVERS - Four women who left their purses locked in their cars as they worked out last year at a Danvers health club were the targets of a serial thief, who used their credit cards to buy high-end televisions and PlayStation consoles.
Now, Robert Kalin, 42, of Boston is heading to state prison for 41/2 years, after pleading guilty yesterday to those crimes, as well as similar ones in Saugus.
In less than a month, Kalin made at least four trips to the parking lot of Planet Fitness on Route 1, hunting for handbags left in cars.
Some people believe their vehicles are safer places than lockers to store their valuables, but both locations can be targets for thieves, police say.
On May 19, 2007, Kalin admitted yesterday, he broke into a car parked at the health club and grabbed a woman's purse.
Then he and a female accomplice headed across the parking lot to Circuit City, prosecutor A.J. Camelio told a Salem Superior Court judge. There, they used the woman's credit card to purchase a 37-inch Sony flat-screen TV - a theft later watched on surveillance video.
Less than two weeks later, on June 1, they were back at Planet Fitness, this time stealing a wallet and using the credit card inside a Target to buy a $629 PlayStation console.
Then, on June 13, Kalin hit two more cars in the parking lot at the health club. They managed to use one card to buy a 40-inch television at Best Buy. But when they tried to use another victim's cards to buy iPods and yet another flat-screen television, the cards were rejected.
The next day, Kalin broke into a car parked at a school in Saugus, stealing a purse and credit cards that were used at Best Buy for another television, at Game Stop to buy another PlayStation, and at Staples and an ExxonMobil station.
Danvers and Saugus police noticed the pattern and worked together to solve the cases, Camelio told Judge Howard Whitehead.
They compared details and viewed surveillance videos, including the one from the customer pickup area at Circuit City.
Kalin, who was represented by defense lawyer Lawrence McGuire, pleaded guilty to a total of 16 counts yesterday - five counts of breaking and entering, three counts of credit card fraud, and eight counts of larceny.
After he completes his 41/2-year prison term, Kalin will be on probation for five years, with a requirement that he make restitution to the owners of the vehicles, as well as take part in drug and alcohol treatment, counseling, and random testing.
Moments after Kalin entered his plea, the judge heard another case, involving a Lynn man charged earlier this month with felony larceny after he was seen going through the belongings of a man at Nahant Beach. The man had left his wallet and other items unattended on the beach as he took a dip in the ocean.
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