In Florida, a loose-knit group of thieves called the “Felony Lane Gang” have added a new wrinkle to the old smash and grab robbery routine. Made up mostly of ex-cons, they got their name by using the outside lane at banks when cashing stolen checks. The gang’s theory is that bank officials have a harder time identifying customers who use the far lane. Kind of sly, ain’t it? Unfortunately for the gang’s members, they keep getting caught and keep ending up back in the slammer.
The Felony Lane Gang members roam the state, zeroing in on churches and other public places where they smash windows of cars and steal anything of value. Then they use women (mostly prostitutes who disguise themselves) to cash stolen checks, usually in different counties from where they were stolen. The thieves use stolen credit and debit cards for gas and food.
An example of the Felony Lane Gang’s exploits happened this week in my hometown of Ocala.
According to the Ocala Star Banner, “Within two hours Wednesday afternoon, 16 vehicles were burglarized at three locations in southeast Ocala. The burglars smashed windows and snatched valuables, including wallets and purses hidden under seats and in center consoles.” In nearby Alachua County, 11 similar cases, thought to be related, occurred the evening before.
Tavaras McBride and Holly Eckert were captured after police officers spotted a car with a stolen license plate. The two attempted to flee but were quickly collared. It didn’t take long for the cops to link McBride and Eckert to the Ocala smash and grab robberies and check-cashing scheme.
Later that day, Marcus Emmanuel Thomas and Alyssa Trierweiler were seen driving a stolen Mercedes. After a chase in which the Mercedes crashed into a sign pole, officers captured the suspects.
Police told reporters that stolen property had been found with the suspects, and they had confessed to the robberies. All the suspects except Trierweiler have served time in Florida’s prisons.
Have any of these people ever heard of getting a job and working for their money? Might be a lot easier in the long run.