South Brunswick Police Chief Raymond Hayducka announced the arrest of one member of the Felony Lane Gang in connection with several car burglaries and thefts.
The investigation into the burglaries has spanned over five months and required coordination from multiple law enforcement agencies, according to information provided by the South Brunswick Police Department on June 4.
According to the FBI, The Felony Lane Gang, originated in Florida a decade ago, has been targeting mothers across the country for years, stealing their purses and using their IDs and credit cards to commit more crimes, like cashing bogus checks or going on shopping sprees with stolen credit cards, according to the statement.
The men do the smash-n-grabs. The women cash the checks, often wearing wigs while sitting in the farthest drive-thru lane to avoid detection – which is where the “Felony Lane Gang” gets its name from.
The South Brunswick investigation began in January when vehicles at two businesses were burglarized by two suspects in a white Hyundai Tucson who subsequently stole the victims’ purses therein, according to the statement. The suspects quickly used the stolen credit cards from the purses to make hundreds of dollars-worth of purchases of gift cards at Home Depots, Targets, and an Acme Food Store in East Brunswick, Milltown, North Brunswick and South Brunswick, according to officials.
Five days after the cars were broken into, one of the victims reported that checks that were in her purse were being cashed at various TD Banks and Wells Fargo banks throughout New Jersey. Detectives determined the suspects had cashed over $30,000 in checks. The names that the checks were being written out to were discovered to be victims who had also had their cars broken into and items stolen, according to reports. The suspects were using the stolen identity to commit the additional fraud.
South Brunswick Detective Tim Hoover circulated images from TD Bank and Wells Fargo Bank surveillance which showed a White female at each location wearing a surgical mask, operating vehicles with out of state license plates, posing as the victims, and sometimes even wearing wigs, to obtain money by passing checks against their accounts, according to the statement.
With assistance from Detective Chris Fasulo of Mahwah Police, the New Jersey State Police, and Northport Police in New York, a 39-year-old woman from Houston, Texas, was identified as the suspect.
Members of the Lower Merion Township Police Department in Pennsylvania caught the woman allegedly in the act of attempting to pass fraudulent checks at a bank in their jurisdiction, according to the statement.
Hoover and Detective Monica Posteraro joined detectives from New Jersey State Police at the Lower Merion Police Department. Their investigation led to linking the woman to the crimes in South Brunswick along with seven other New Jersey towns, according to the statement.
The woman was charged on June 3 with conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to commit credit card fraud. She is lodged in the Montgomery County Correction Center pending her extradition.
Chief Hayducka said, “It took a lot of time and effort to track down this suspect. I want to thank all the agencies from the Mahwah Police Department to the New Jersey State Police for their help. It is only through coordination and cooperation that we can track down transient criminals like the Felony Lane Gang. This is excellent police work by Detective Hoover and all those involved.”