Recently Joshua Mallory and Gary Grier pleaded guilty in federal court in Syracuse, New York to charges related to the theft of credit cards, debit cards, checkbooks and driver’s licenses stolen from cars parked in parking lots. Mallory and Grier were a part of a national gang called the Felony Lane Gang that used these stolen items for purposes of identity theft. I first told you about the Felony Lane Gang in 2015 when Maine police began investigating a series of automobile break-ins occurring in parking lots in various cities throughout the state that were the work of the Felony Lane Gang.
The Felony Lane Gang originated in Florida, but soon began operating throughout the country. Their pattern was to break into automobiles and steal purses, wallets and other personal property not for the cash contained, but for the credit cards, checkbooks, driver’s licenses and other forms of personal information and identification that they use for purposes of identity theft. They often targeted parking lots at gyms and fitness centers where the car owner would both be out of the car for an extended period of time and may also have left purses, wallets and other property in the car for the very purpose of what they perceived as enhanced security rather than bring these items with them to the gym or fitness center, where locker break-ins are a constant threat.
There is nothing you can do that will guarantee that you will not become a victim of identity theft, but there are simple steps you can take to reduce the risk. When parking your car, don’t leave purses, wallets or any personal items in plain view and certainly lock the car. Also either lock your valuables and personal documents in the trunk of your car or take them with you. Identity thieves are looking for low hanging fruit, which in this instance means unlocked cars or cars with visible purses or other items that can be used for purposes of identity theft.
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