The Gilbert Police Department is warning the community about the 'Felony Lane Gang' and their recent car break-ins and thefts in populated parking lots.
The gang is most well-known and operated out of Florida in Broward County. However, since 2015, Gilbert Police Sgt. Darrell Krueger said some gang members have made their way to other states, like Arizona.
"They will go into an area...they will scout it out and they can be in and out in under a minute - oftentimes in 30 seconds when they've hit several cars by people jumping out, burglarizing vehicles and then leaving right away," Sgt. Krueger explained.
He also explained that the gang is highly organized and usually operates with upwards of five people as they make their way through parking lots like malls, gyms and restaurants looking for items of value, especially IDs with personal information.
In Gilbert, Sgt. Krueger estimates there have been at least 20 cases since 2015. However, there have also been many copycat crimes, which is making it difficult for them to develop a solid statistic.
One woman reached out to ABC15 and said she believes she was a victim of this gang when her car was vandalized recently in the Tucson area.
Cari did not want to reveal her last name for her safety, but said she felt severely violated when she came back to her car to find her window shattered and her purse gone.
She thinks she became a target the second she stepped out of her car without her purse. The crooks must have guessed, if the purse was not with her, it was in the car for them to swipe.
"You have to show that you have an item with you," Cari said. "So, that when you get out...maybe they just go into your car and vandalize it, but they don't take your identity."
Police have not directly connected her case to the Felony Lane Gang, but she believes that the highly-organized way in which her break-in occurred makes her confident it was them.
The Gilbert Police Department said one of their top crimes, in general, is vehicle theft, so they are hoping to use this community alert as a reminder for people.
"It's most often a crime of opportunity," Sgt. Krueger explained. "So, our overall message would be please... help yourself by taking care of these things, putting them [purses] where people can't see them and making sure your cars are locked."
ABC15 reached out to other police agencies, such as Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa to see how many cases of crime in those areas occurred from the Felony Lane Gang.