It was a surprise to learn of the existence of the Felony Lane Gang. This reputed criminal organization with a name sounding like it was lifted from a 1930s gangster picture operates from New Orleans to New York state, according to an FBI website.
The gang numbers around 100, according to the FBI, which describes it as a white-collar crime ring known for identity theft. Locally, the gang might be responsible for several car break-ins in Kingston and Saugerties, and most recently in Catskill and Coxsackie, although police have not positively linked these break-ins to gang activity.
The group is known for smashing the windows of parked cars, stealing purses and using the victims’ personal identification and banking information to gain access to their accounts, according to the Saugerties Police Department, which recently arrested a reputed gang member.
The identity thefts are a serious cause of concern, of course, but more troubling is that the perpetrators of these break-ins seem to be targeting women who are alone.
Several women allegedly victimized by the gang, or who know women whose cars were burglarized, have come forward with stories about going to gyms or laundromats at night, alone, probably being observed by someone in a parked car, and coming out to find their car windows smashed and gym bags or purses stolen.
To the best of our knowledge, no one has been physically harmed by these burglars, but there is a first time for everything. Nobody knows what might happen if a woman catches one of these thieves in the act. The result could be disastrous.
The high-profile break-ins and suspicion that the Felony Lane Gang might be responsible are causing state police and the FBI to ramp up their investigations. The authorities we trust to keep us safe are being asked to stop these burglaries before another woman falls prey to identity theft or, heaven forbid, physical danger.