Chief Michael Murphy and the North Reading Police Department are warning residents and business owners to be aware of increased Felony Lane Gang (FLG) activity occurring in the surrounding communities which has resulted in an increase in car break ins and related theft and fraud.
Who is the Felony Lane Gang and what do they do?
“The Felony Lane Gang is a national group of as many as 800 robbers and fraudsters known for breaking into parked cars and stealing money, bank cards and identification, then emptying the victims’ bank accounts.
The group travels the country in rental cars and tends to recruit prostitutes and people struggling with substance abuse. The gang was given the Felony Lane name because its members are known to use the lane farthest from the teller at a bank drive-through to minimize the chance of being identified by cameras.
The robbers are known to steal from unlocked cars or break windows to gain entry. They are believed to have stolen millions of dollars throughout the country in recent years”. (Cody Sheppard, the Enterprise)
Who is being targeted?
The gang is targeting primarily women who leave purses and wallets in unattended vehicles. The gang will monitor the parking areas of gyms, parks, day cares, walking trails etc. Suspects will then check vehicles and enter unlocked vehicles or smash windows to steal related items left in view.
How are people being victimized?
The gang will immediately use the stolen credit cards to make multiple high price purchases. If banking information or check books are located, they will use female gang associates, often in disguise to cash large checks using the victim’s information and identification.
What you can do to avoid being victimized?
Always take your valuables, especially purses and wallets inside once you reach your destination. Lock your vehicle doors, and if you do have to leave valuables behind, make sure they are not left in view of someone potentially looking inside.
Note: If you see anyone parked for an excessive amount of time in a parking lot, contact police.
What to do if you are victimized.
Immediately contact the police in the jurisdiction that you are in and report the crime. Cancel your credit cards, notify your bank and initiate a fraud alert or credit freeze on your personal credit. The following link is from the Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Protection Service and it explains how and when to place a fraud alert/credit freeze on your identity. Fraud-alert-or-credit-freeze-which-right-you
Please remember that the public is our eyes and ears in the community. If you see something suspicious, even something small that doesn’t look right, please call us so that we can check on it.