credit and debit cards

Last June, it happened inĀ Franklin. Then this summer, and now in recent weeks, in Spring Hill.

The Spring Hill police believe that some recent crimes are the work of a group known as the Felony Lane Gang.

The Felony Lane Gang tries to get as many personal documents as possible to compromise bank accounts and steal money. The group has struck across the country.

“We had a couple incidents we believe to be them,” Lt. Justin Whitwell of the Spring Hill Police said.

The group gets its name from what law enforcement calls the felony lane at the drive through at the bank, the farthest from the teller window, where they have tried to use other people’s debit cards.

It is not a gang so much as a group of criminals who perform the same crime.

“It is several different sets that are coming from out of state most of the time then they will come into a city and go to local jurisdiction, then be gone,” Whitwell said. “That is why it is so tough to track them.”

The criminals M.O. involves stealing credit and debit cards and other personal information, most often by breaking into cars with purses or wallets left in them.

They then use the credit cards at banks or at big box stores, where they may get a homeless person or someone in need of money to go into the store and use the cards to buy gift cards, Whitwell said.

The SHPD believe a number of recent crimes point to the gang having been back in Spring Hill.

“I couldn’t put a number on it, because it is hard to determine whether it is them or some random local person using their M.O.,” Whitwell said. “We try to get identifications on these people but they are usually from out of state and will move to another jurisdiction after hitting a place, so it is hard.”

“The crimes occur sporadically, but are not uncommon.”

The police say the best way to guard against them is not so much locking your car doors but making sure you take your valuables with you.

“They are looking for cards and any purses or wallets, and they will bust the window to get in or jimmy the lock,” Whitwell said.

“They know what they are doing, that is why they come from other states,” Lt. Justin Whitwell, SHPD, said.

The Felony Lane Gang has been operating in Middle Tennessee since the late 2000s, said Whitwell.