Gangs target women shoppers in the suburbs

Felony Lane Gang caught in Westlake

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - They have victimized women all over greater Cleveland but don't have faces that will be familiar to you. It is because all seven of them are members of a Fort Lauderdale gang known as the Felony Lane Gang.

A police task force tracks them on a web site. They travel state to state, staying in an area only a few days before moving on. Most recently they stayed in Westlake and were busted.

"We have recovered stuff that was stolen from people in Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, the Pittsburgh area," according to Police Captain Guy Turner.

Turner said the gang operates in two teams, the first breaks into cars using a Swiss Tech window glass punching device. They take checkbooks, credit cards, and cash. Then they pass the stuff on to other members who go shopping for merchandise and gift cards.

The targets are women who may be distracted with kids, or women going to a fitness or recreation center because they know they'll likely be gone for an hour or more. The gang might have gone undetected longer except for an alert Westlake officer who was checking license plates at a motel parking lot.

He saw drug paraphernalia in and around one of their three cars. When the driver pulled away police stopped him. They found a treasure trove of credit cards and gift cards.

"Their gift cards were dropping under the seats. They probably didn't know they were down there," Turner described.

The name Felony Lane Gang comes from their never going into a bank and using only the bank lane farthest from the teller window, thus the Felony Lane name.

Turner said the reason is, "it all has to be done by closed circuit TV and maybe the person wouldn't be able to recognize them if they saw them again. Couple hundred dollars at the most, not trying to draw attention to themselves."

The bottom line is simple, mom, when you take your kids, take your purse.

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