LAWRENCE, Ind. -- Lawrence police say two suspects arrested Wednesday for attempting to cash stolen checks may have been part of the “Felony Lane Gang” scheme.
Officers were dispatched to the Financial Center First Credit Union at 7101 E. 56th Street around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday on a reported of a stolen check.
According to police, a credit union member was inside the business working with staff to close their account following a theft of checks and ID the previous day when someone entered the business and attempted to cash one of the stolen checks.
The credit union refused to cash the check. Police located the suspects attempting to departing the parking lot. The suspects refused to stop for officers, instead fleeing north on I-69 to the State Road 37 exit.
Police eventually ended the chase with a PIT maneuver. Both suspects, Anissa DeGroat, 45, of Sparta, Tennessee, and Kelsey Oliver, 19, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, were arrested without further incident.
DeGroat and Oliver face preliminary charges of forgery and theft. DeGroat, who was driving the vehicle, faces an additional charge of fleeing law enforcement.
Lawrence police said they are investigating to determine if DeGroat and Oliver may have cashed stolen checks at other locations in the Central Indiana area.
This isn’t the first time this year Lawrence police have arrested people involved in suspected "Felony Lane Gang" activity.
In May, officers arrested three women on charges of committing fraud and smash-and-grab thefts similar to the Felony Lane criminal scheme.
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.
Police 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.
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