Two vehicles, apparently both unlocked, were entered in Woodway Country Club parking lots, and credit cards taken from one of them were used before either of the victims realized the thefts had taken place, police said.
Police say they’ve been examining a surveillance video recording of the parking lot from when the crimes took place late in the afternoon of Wednesday, June 29 at the club, located at 412 Hoyt St.
In one case, a 2014 Jeep Limited, inadvertently left unlocked along the pond side of a parking lot, was entered when it was parked there from 2 to 4:45 p.m. Police said the thief was caught on surveillance camera at about 4:15 p.m. entering the cars.
The victim, a 59-year-old New Canaan woman, said she didn’t realize anything had been taken until she received a call the next day from her bank asking her about some transactions. Police said nothing was reported stolen other than credit and debit cards.
At a Target store in Brooklyn, N.Y., someone tried to use first an American Express credit card, then a debit card to buy $816 worth of items, but both transactions failed. A third attempt with a Visa credit card was successful.
In the other case, the victim left the parking lot in her 2013 GMC Yukon, parked in the lot near the swimming pool, at about 5:15 p.m. The next day, the victim noticed credit cards had been removed from her purse, which had been left on the front passenger seat.
An American Express card and Chase Visa card were stolen, but cash, also in her wallet, remained. The stolen cards were not used as of early last week, police said.
The woman, 41, and also a New Canaan resident, said she thought she had locked the vehicle and even checked the doors, but there were no signs of forced entry.
“The Felony Lane Gang is something I haven’t spoken to you about [in a while],” Police Chief Duane Lovello said Wednesday at the Darien Police Commission meeting. “They’re active in the area. We don’t know if they were involved at Woodway Country Club.”
The group has remained active in the area ever since arrests of some of its members last year, Lovello said. Police suspect the group’s involvement in the cashing of some fraudulent checks in lower Fairfield County, including one in Wilton, he said.
Unlike these two recent thefts, the gang often smashes side windows to get at purses seen inside locked vehicles parked at places where the victims may be awhile — in Darien, police say, that has included the Darien YMCA parking lot and a parking lot at Cherry Lawn Park. Parking lots at state parks have also been hit.
The gang then has other members, often women, go to banks to withdraw money using stolen debit cards or checks. The group, based in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl., has hundreds of members who fan out to many states across the country, often in rented vehicles.
- Darien Detectives Helping Other Law Enforcement Agencies with Felony Lane Gang Investigations (March 18, 2016)
- Cops: Three Car Burglary Arrests Last Week only the Tip of the ‘Felony Lane Gang’ (Sept. 14, 2015 — this article has the most information about the Darien case)
- Windows Smashed, Purses Taken from 4 Vehicles in Cherry Lawn Park — Felony Lane Gang? (Nov. 2, 2015)
- Police: It Looks Like the Felony Lane Gang Is Back (Nov. 7, 2015)
- Men Charged in Darien YMCA Motor Vehicle Burglaries Now Charged with Ones at Cherry Lawn (Jan. 12, 2016)
Darienite.com also has other articles about incidents possibly related to the Felony Lane Gang.