DECATUR — A branch of the organized crime ring known as The Felony Lane Gang, believed responsible for multiple vehicle smash-and-grabs in Decatur and beyond, may have struck again Wednesday evening in a parking lot in the 1000 block of West South Side Drive, police say.

Sgt. Chris Copeland said two vehicles parked in the lot of the Decatur Athletic Club were broken into, and a wallet and purse were stolen.

A witness told police he interrupted a man hitting a window out of a 2009 Acura around 6:12 p.m., Copeland said. The suspect got into the passenger side of a grey 2018 or 2019 Dodge Durango with Florida license plates, and the suspects left the parking lot.

Copeland said the suspects may be part of the Felony Lane Gang, because the gang is based in Florida, matching the plate on the getaway vehicle.

"The MO matches previous auto burglaries we've had," Copeland said.

The FBI classifies the Felony Lane Gang as a group of organized burglary and identity theft rings, originating in south Florida but operating in jurisdictions across the country. Members typically use rental vehicles with tinted windows to watch parking lots and steal identification, credit cards and checkbooks from unattended vehicles, according to an alert on the agency's website. The burglaries often occur at gyms, fitness centers, daycare facilities and recreation areas. 

The witness told officers he also saw a window shattered out of a Volvo, Copeland said.

Copeland said the suspects attempted to use one victim's credit card at a Kroger location in Taylorville. The attempted charge was for nearly $1,500.

Copeland said the victim called the bank to cancel her card before it could be used, so the transaction could not be completed.

A string of similar burglaries happened in February and March in Decatur, one also being at the Decatur Athletic Club Wednesday, Feb. 20.

The cases are under investigation.

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Contact Kennedy Nolen at (217) 421-6985. Follow her on Twitter: @KNolenWrites


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