Police say thefts could be ‘Felony Lane’ activities

Published: Monday, September 30, 2013 at 3:45 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, September 30, 2013 at 3:45 p.m.

Area law enforcement agencies are investigating a series of car burglaries that they say may be part of an organized ring of thieves targeting credit card fraud and identity theft.

Between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday, multiple instances of car burglaries and credit card fraud were reported to officials with the Gainesville Police Department and the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, according to a GPD release.

In one case, GPD said a 40-year-old woman and her 12-year-old daughter confronted a man who was breaking into her car at the 300 Club, 3715 NW 12th Ave.

The woman used a tennis racket to hit the man, described as a stocky man with long dreads and wearing black baggy pants and a red and white shirt.

The man fled in a dark blue Toyota Corolla with Oklahoma license plates and struck the woman with the car as he fled, the report said. The woman was not injured.

GPD is also working burglaries at the Gainesville Health and Fitness Club as well as Westside Park.

GPD spokesman Officer Ben Tobias said the incidents are being considered as part of so-called Felony Lane activities, in which a team of burglars take items such as credit cards, checkbooks and identification from vehicles and use them to make fraudulent purchases or to steal money from ATMs.

The agencies are urging residents to take appropriate care to protect their belongings, such as locking the vehicle and removing valuable items.

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