AP NEWS

Cops: ‘Felony Lane Gang’ back in Bay State eyeing unattended pocketbooks

October 17, 2017

A nationwide ring of crooks known as the “Felony Lane Gang” who target pocketbooks in cars has popped up again in the Bay State, prompting cops to warn residents to be on the lookout.

North Reading police Chief Michael Murphy has posted an alert on the department’s website saying the gang is targeting vehicles in “surrounding communities.”

The crime ring includes as many as 800 to 1,000 members who swipe pocketbooks from cars, then cash checks at the drive-thru windows of banks — using the farthest lane to obscure the teller’s view, which has been dubbed the “felony lane.”

Gang members have even been known to use wigs to appear more like their victims.

The gang is targeting women who leave purses or wallets in unattended cars, police said, and members frequently monitor parking lots outside gyms, parks, daycares and walking trails.

As of early last year, gang members had ripped off more than $1 million from victims, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. A regional hub was set up through Darien, Conn., police to try to coordinate information about the gang between New England police departments.

“Always take your valuables, especially purses and wallets inside once you reach your destination,” North Reading cops said. “Lock your vehicle doors, and if you do have to leave valuables behind, make sure they are not left in view.”