A dispute over a gym membership seemingly led to a bizarre series of events that featured a car crashing into a Crunch Fitness in La Mirada, witnesses chasing the man who attempted to leave the scene in a getaway vehicle and a crash to end the civilian pursuit, authorities said.
Sergio Reyes, 32, was arrested on attempted murder charges and is accused of stealing a Honda Accord, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Witnesses say Reyes revved the car's engine in the parking lot before jumping out after it crashed into the gym. The crash was reported at about 2 a.m. in the 12800 block of Valley View Avenue, according to the LASD.
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The gym was open at the time of the crash.
A witness said he had just finished working out with his friends when they saw a man trying to burn rubber in the parking lot. He said it looked like something out of a movie when the car rocketed forward into the gym.
The car came to a stop next to a stationary bicycle, leaving behind a trail of toppled exercise equipment and shattered glass. Police later determined that the Honda was reported stolen in Whittier a few days ago.
"The good thing is that nobody got hurt," said witness Adrian Nolasco. "The guy at the front desk was on the other side, so he was able to hop out of the way."
A worker at the gym said the crash appeared intentional and happened after an argument over a $70 initiation fee refund. The driver was identified by an employee as a former member whose membership was canceled because he repeatedly harassed employees. The LASD confirmed that the suspect appeared to be a "disgruntled former member" of the fitness club in a statement released by the department.
A worker said the suspect confronted employees earlier Monday, before returning around 2 a.m. in the Honda.
After the crash, the driver ran across a street and got in the passenger's seat of another car, a 2019 Toyota Corolla. At that point, the LASD said a civilian pursuit ensued, as witnesses chased the man and getaway driver, leading to a single-car crash at Alicante Road and Manzanares Road in La Mirada.
The driver ran from the scene, but deputies arrested Reyes at the site of the crash. He was identified as the suspect who crashed into the gym and arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.
He was being held on $1 million bond.