JANESVILLE—Janesville police are seeking suspects in a “felony lane gang”-style rip-off.
In a statewide alert, police on Monday described a purse being taken from a car while the owner was on a Janesville bicycle trail Sept. 1.
Seven days after the car’s window was smashed, a woman cashed a check from the break-in and tried to cash another one in Milwaukee, according to the alert.
The felony lane gang technique starts with a break-in/theft from a car in which IDs and/or checks are stolen. The IDs are later used to cash checks, with women posing as the people pictured on the ID cards.
Perpetrators often break into cars at fitness centers, day cares or parks, steal women’s purses, and then use the outside lane of bank drive-thrus to get cash with the documents they stole.
In a typical felony lane gang operation, women are often the ones who try to get the cash. Men are suspected in many of the car break-ins.
This style of crime is seen nationwide and is believed to have originated in the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Atlanta areas.
Felony lane gang activity has been reported in the Janesville area at least as far back as 2017. The criminals involved will typically work an area for a short time and then move to a different state or area in order to avoid getting caught.
This is the first felony lane gang report in Janesville in some time, Janesville police Det. Chris Buescher said.
More common lately have been thefts in grocery stores in which someone distracts the victim while a second person grabs the purse, Buescher said.