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Felony Lane Identity Theft

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Crime WatchCrime Watch (Original Image)
Detectives from the 5th District Investigative Section are investigating a series of daytime thefts from vehicles that have been occurring in the Damascus and Germantown areas since mid-December.  In all of the incidents, the victims have left a purse in plain view within the vehicle while the vehicle was parked at a park, dog park, community center, or similar establishment.  The suspect(s) have smashed a window to enter the vehicle and stolen the purse which oftentimes contains bank cards, checks, and/or credit cards.  Most of the victims have then had their identity used to cash stolen checks throughout several Maryland counties.

Ongoing investigation into these thefts has revealed that these incidents are part of a larger crime scheme, known as Felony Lane Identity Theft.  Felony Lane Identity Theft describes theft crimes that are initiated when a purse containing a victim's identification, credit cards, and personal checks is stolen from a vehicle parked at a park, community center, etc.  After the purse is stolen, the suspect uses the stolen credit cards and checks before the victim is able to cancel them.

Characteristics of "Felony Lane Identity Theft":

  • Suspect(s) are often part of a well-organized group that travels throughout the United States committing this type of theft.
  • Suspect(s) oftentimes go to the victim's bank or credit union and use the victim's photo identification and personal checks to make withdrawals from the victim's bank account.
  • Suspect(s) often cross county and state lines in order to cash the checks.
  • Suspect(s) may use a disguise in order to resemble the photo on the victim's identification.
  • Suspect(s) will use the farthest lane of the drive-through at the bank in order to cash the checks.  The term "Felony Lane" is derived from the suspects' tendency to use these far lanes of the drive-through.
  • Suspect(s) will oftentimes use rented vehicles to complete the transactions in order to prevent tracking by vehicle license plate number.
In addition to the incidents that have occurred in the 5th District, detectives are aware that these incidents have been occurring throughout Montgomery County as well as throughout the DC Metro area.

With this in mind, police are reminding residents to:

  • Refrain from leaving valuables in plain sight inside of their vehicle.
  • Cancel their bank cards and credit cards immediately in the event that they are stolen.
  • Contact police if any suspicious activity is observed in areas such as parks, dog parks, community centers, etc.
JMS

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Release ID: 13-086
Media Contact: mcpnews 
Categories: press-releases