GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Federal authorities arrested eight Florida residents in Grand Rapids late last month in connection to a string of smash-and-grab purse thefts and subsequent bank frauds. The feds say the suspects were pulling what’s referred to as the “Felony Lane” scheme.
The suspects — 21-year-old Taylor Hamilton, 38-year-old Jelcorby Kent, 35-year-old Amber King, 22-year-old Taylor Lawhead, 23-year-old Tyrone McGowan, 28-year-old John Newton, 21-year-old Xavier Romer and 22-year-old Virquan Smith — each face charges of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.
The “Felony Lane” scheme works like this: The crooks stake out locations where women may be likely to leave their purse in their car, like parks, day cares or gyms, and then break into likely-looking vehicles and steal the purses. The women involved in the scheme then go to a bank drive-thru wearing a disguise to make them look more like the victims. They pick the drive-thru lane farthest from the bank — known as the “felony lane,” which gives the scheme its name — so it will be harder for tellers to see they’re fakes. They use bank cards, checkbooks and IDs to withdraw money from victims’ accounts.
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