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Gang Grabs Purses, Then Tries To Withdraw Money At Banks

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Naperville Police Sgt. John Westlove (CBS)

Naperville Police Sgt. John Westlove (CBS)

Mike Puccinelli Mike Puccinelli
Mike Puccinelli serves as a general assignment reporter for CBS 2...
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Updated 9/24/11 at 10:17 a.m.

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (CBS) — Naperville police are warning residents that their city is being targeted by a group of smash-and-grab thieves known as the “Felony Lane Gang.”

They’re an interstate gang with at least 100 members, CBS 2’s Mike Puccinelli reports.

The gang has most recently struck in two south Naperville parks just this week. The thieves operate so quickly that police have generated few leads.

A designer purse sitting on the seat of a car in Naperville is a tempting sight for an organized network of criminals trolling for easy money in Naperville and in cities in at least seven other states.

“The suspects come and smash the car windows, and they’re in and out before the victim can even get back,” Naperville Police Sgt. John Westlove said.

In the past year, the Felony Lane Gang has struck more than 60 times in Naperville alone. It all adds up to some serious money –- an estimated $100,000 here –- when the robbers go to the bank after stealing victims’ IDs, checkbook and banking information.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser Reports

Police say the robbers operate from the lane that is farthest from the bank window. That way, when they are conducting their fraudulent transactions it’s much harder for the tellers to identify the suspects.

So far, Naperville police haven’t busted anyone. But in Crystal Lake earlier this month four people were arrested. All were from Florida, where the Felony Lane Gang is believed to be based.

Police say the gang is generally targeting women, often while they’re at parks, fitness facilities and daycare centers.

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