Prolific theft suspect familiar to Burien victim

Two thieves have been arrested for allegedly breaking into lockers repeatedly at local gyms. It's a familiar crime to one Burien man. His wallet and cell phone were stolen by one of the suspects six years ago.

Two thieves have been arrested for allegedly breaking into lockers repeatedly at local gyms. It's a familiar crime to one Burien man. His wallet and cellphone were stolen by one of the suspects six years ago.

He remembers this like it was yesterday.

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"Yeah, I had to pull, like, so many favors just to get back to a normal life for a couple of days," said Nicholas Butler. "It was horrible."

A convicted felon, 32-year-old Joseph Victor Gill, broke into his gym locker in Kent, stole his wallet and cellphone and went shopping with his credit cards.

"Because you can take a signature pretty easily," said Butler. "So it was gas station. And it was, like, K.F.C. And then there's, like, Fred Meyers, all sorts of places, and spending as much as they could on it in about an hour. Yeah, in an hour. Numerous places, they were quick."

Bellevue police released recent images of Gill and allegedly up to his old tricks with an accomplice, on a shopping spree after one of dozens of locker thefts in the last 10 months all over the Eastside.

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They would cut off the lock and replace it with a new one, say detectives, fooling the victim into thinking nothing was wrong long enough to spend thousands of dollars.

Their targets were gyms that have no security system, prompting a warning from Bellevue police.

"Don't take valuables inside with you," advised Bellevue police Maj. John McCracken. "And if you can avoid using a locker at all, don't use a locker."

That is advice Nicholas Butler says he began taking after he was robbed in 2013.

"I mean, my car, like, I know people get robbed in their cars," said Butler.  "But the gym? It just didn't occur to me that that was not a safe place."

Gill's accomplice bailed out of jail this afternoon.  But Gill was already in the King County jail on an unrelated charge.

In fact, he was arrested 11 days after the Department of Corrections ended its supervision of him for his last offense. He is still there, being held on $200,000 bail.