INDIANAPOLIS -- Lawrence police arrested three women Tuesday on charges of committing fraud and smash-and-grab thefts similar to those of the "Felony Lane Gang."
Police were called to the PNC Bank branch at 9105 E. 56th Street just before 11:30 a.m. Tuesday on a report of three occupants of a white Chevy Impala attempting to cash a stolen check.
The check had been stolen the day prior from a vehicle in a parking lot on the northwest side of Indianapolis. Witnesses to the incident saw a white Chevy Impala in the area when the theft occurred.
As LPD vehicles pulled into the bank lot, police say the Impala sped off – ignoring lights and sirens as officers attempted to pull it over.
According to police, a passenger inside the vehicle threw shredded paper out of the window during the chasing on I-465. After that, the Impala finally pulled over.
The driver of the vehicle, 60-year-old Mary Roberts, of Indianapolis, was charged with resisting law enforcement, a class 6 felony. Two other women inside the car – 42-year-old Dionne Reisert, of Indianapolis, and 25-year-old Tiphani Green, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida – were arrested on preliminary charges of forgery and attempted theft, both class 6 felonies.
Lawrence police said the method of operation in the case is "consistent with activity associated with Felony Lane Gang involvement."
The Felony Lane Gang is not actually a gang – rather, it refers to copycat criminals who perpetrate fraud while using the lane farthest from the teller at a bank drive-through.
The Felony Lane Gang M.O. originates in the Fort Lauderdale area. Police say a "handler
"usually" recruits drug addicts, prostitutes or homeless individuals and then travels the U.S. breaking into vehicles.
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.