KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Police say a relatively new kind of gang is sweeping across the country and stealing the identities of innocent women and their money. The thieves are using the drive-thru lanes at banks as part of their schemes.
Police say members of the Felony lane Gang are fast and desperate. After stealing their female victims’ checkbooks and i.d.’s, the thieves pull up to the far lane at a bank as far away as they can from the teller. They hope to cash a fraudulent check.
Marilyn Hu says every time she steps out of her car she never leaves her checkbook or credit cards behind.
“I’m very watchful and I never leave anything of value in my car,” Hu said.
Police say a lot of women are not protecting their personal information after they get out of their cars. As a result, investigators say that information has been falling into the hands of some money hungry thieves, The Felony Lane Gang.
“these are complicated cases because they stretch across many jurisdictions, many different state lines,” said Eric Zahnd, Platte County Prosecutor.
Investigators say 37-year-old Laura Jane Smith is a member of the Felony Lane Gang which is based in Florida. In the last year, the mixed group of people has smashed car windows at gyms, day cares, any business women frequent in Missouri, Kansas, Florida, Nebraska, Indiana and Wisconsin.
“The lengths that these people go to through perpetuate these crimes are significant,” Zahnd said.
Investigators say once the thieves have the victims’ checkbook, the gang members rush to the far lane at banks and disguise themselves as the victim to try to cash a bad check. Police say in May of 2011, an alert bank teller at the Platte County Bank became suspicious after Laura Jane Smith tried to cash a $1,000 check.
“It’s really sad that they need to resort to something like that,” said Tracy Newberry, gym patron. “Here I am going to the gym or doing something else and they break in and do that.”
Police want to remind women to never leave your checkbook, purse or any other personal information in plain sight of your car. The forgery suspect, Laura Smith remains in the Platte County Jail.