The case of the rotten gym rat

Suspect allegedly broke into lockers in the early morning

Julius Anthony Keeler, 31, pleads not guilty. Photo by Eva
  • Julius Anthony Keeler, 31, pleads not guilty. Photo by Eva

Deputies arrested a repeat felon who broke into lockers at a series of LA Fitness gyms around North County San Diego last spring, it was alleged in court on February 3.

A woman named Meggan spoke to deputies after a gym member at the LA Fitness in San Marcos reported his wallet, wedding ring, and other items stolen from his locker. Meggan told deputies she had worked at that same gym for five years, and when she went down the list of persons who had checked in that morning, she did not recognize the photo ID of one person, named Julius Keeler.

Meggan told deputies she noticed that same gym member, Julius Keeler, had checked into another LA Fitness, the one located in Encinitas, at 5:30 a.m. that same morning. The same day, May 28, 2014, the same man checked into the LA Fitness in San Marcos at about 6:30 a.m. The alert employee phoned the other gym and was informed that two lockers had been broken into the same morning, after Keeler checked in.

Deputy Anthony Mirelas

Deputy Anthony Mirelas

Sheriff’s deputy Anthony Mirelas said that he spoke with Meggan and then looked up the latest booking photo of 31-year-old Julius Anthony Keeler. The gym member who reported his wallet stolen said his credit card company contacted him to inquire about unusual activity on his card at a Walgreens in Escondido.

Deputy Mirelas went to the Walgreens on East Valley Parkway and spoke with a clerk who described the man who had used the stolen credit card. She did pick Julius Anthony Keeler out of a photo lineup and said the man purchased hundreds of dollars’ worth of items, including a VISA Vanilla $300 gift card.

The deputy reviewed the store’s surveillance video and identified a suspect who had arrived in a black, two-door Infinity with no license plates.

With a tip that his suspect had a girlfriend who lived on North Cedar Street in Escondido, deputy Mirelas went there and found the same black Infinity car with no license plates in the driveway. He said the suspect was standing in front of the house, and the key to the car was in his pocket when Keeler was arrested.

Detective Kurt Cartie

Detective Kurt Cartie

Prosecutor Nicolette Cassidy

Prosecutor Nicolette Cassidy

The month before, on April 18, 2014, a man had reported his wallet stolen from his locker at the LA Fitness on Dove Canyon Road in 4S Ranch. Sheriff’s detective Kurt Cartie said that victim’s credit card was used the same afternoon at a CVS store in Rancho Bernardo to purchase hundreds of dollars’ worth of items, including a VISA Vanilla gift card and a Mother’s Day card. That store’s surveillance video showed Keeler using the stolen credit card, according to detective Cartie.

Judge K. Michael Kirkman ordered Keeler to answer five felonies. Keeler pleads not guilty to all charges and is expected back in court on April 20 to set a date for trial. Keeler is currently at liberty, having posted $50,000 bail.

Prosecutor Nicolette Cassidy alleges that Keeler has three prison priors out of San Diego County plus one strike prior in Riverside County. Keeler’s alleged criminal record began when he was 18 years old, starting with a robbery, then two burglaries, and then one felony for evading officers with wanton disregard for public safety.

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Julius Keeler, 31, was picked up by Fallbrook deputies late last night, May 23, 2015, for alleged probation violations. A team of deputies and detectives and probation officers conducted compliance checks on twelve different residents in San Diego's North County, according to a Sheriff's press release. As of this writing, Keeler is currently at the Vista detention facility, being held without bail. The District Attorney's website states that Keeler has four active criminal cases, and his next court date is in the downtown courthouse on June 1, 2015.

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