INDIANAPOLIS -- Police say the "Felony Lane Gang" is operating again in Central Indiana – and they are looking for targets.
Not an actual gang, the term "Felony Lane Gang" refers to copycat criminals who perpetrate fraud while using the lane farthest from the teller at a bank drive-through.
According to the Johnson County Sheriff's Office, the group originates in the Fort Lauderdale area. The department says a "handler" usually recruits drug addicts, prostitutes or homeless individuals and then travels the U.S. breaking into vehicles.
Members of the group will watch a parking lot and target women who leave purses inside their vehicles.
"Felony Lane Gang" members will sometimes use wigs or other disguises to make them look like the victims they've stolen checks or credit cards from. They will then cash those stolen checks or make fraudulent purchases on the cards.
Since 2012, the banking industry has reported a loss of $23 million related to "Felony Lane Gang" type groups.
The Johnson County Sheriff's Office offered the following tips to help you avoid falling victim to the group: Do not leave purses, firearms or other valuable property in plain view in your vehicle.
- Always lock your vehicle.
- Never leave your car unoccupied with the motor running.
- When at home, park vehicles in a locked garage. If not possible, park in a well-lit area.
- Pay attention to your surroundings: If you see multiple individuals sitting inside of a parked vehicle for longer than would be appropriate or individuals looking in vehicle windows, report suspicious activity to police.
- Report any incident where you believe someone has entered your vehicle without permission to police immediately.