FARMINGTON (WFSB) - A group of thieves are fanning out across the country looking to steal identities - they’re known as the Felony Lane Gang and tonight, one local police department confirms they’re in Connecticut.

Police say the gang from Florida is now in Connecticut preying on victims here.

The crime is quick.

"Somebody smashed my car and grabbed by purse," Dina Rossi of Middletown said. "They literally watch you get out of your car to see what you left without, so they have something to look for when you walk away."

When it happened to her on December 15th, she was still at the Farmington Sports Arena filing a police report, when she said the thieves tried to buy $3,000 worth of items at Walmart.

"I have alerts on that particular card so they were not able to use it," Rossi said.

With fraud security in place, Rossi chalked her misfortune up to a random smash and grab where the suspect was looking for quick cash, but she would soon learn the people who preyed on her are sophisticated and looking for much more.

Three days later, Farmington police say this female suspect was caught on camera at a drive thru teller in New Rochelle, New York, trying to get cash from Rossi’s debit card.

"To find out it’s no longer a petty theft is disconcerting," Rossi said.

A photo helped police recognize the female suspect woman as a member of the Felony Lane Gang.

The gang is from Florida, and apparently the FBI has been following them for about five years now.

Police say the gang from Fort Lauderdale have been going around the country stealing identities and because quick cash is not their main priority, their crimes can have lingering consequences on victims.

Police say thieves then pick the last lane at a bank drive-thru when they want to fraudulently cash checks and use debit cards because it’s furthest away from an actual teller.

Rossi says she’s had multiple inquiries on her credit report - and now she’s cancelling everything.

"I was told by the task force that I should close all my bank accounts and literally change everything because they could come back up to a year later, it’s happened," Rossi said.

From bank accounts to credit cards and even her driver’s license and home locks, everything is getting overhauled - because of one mistake that took seconds to make.

"I’m upset with myself for having left my purse here for even a moment," Rossi said.

Dina shared a list from the task force she’s working with of what to do if you fall victim to a smash and grab.

Bottom line is to:

  • Know your surroundings and perhaps take a short video of your area when you get out of your car.
  • Bring phone and purse or belongings with you.
  • Do not have coats or blankets in the car that make your car a target to smash.
  • Never leave shopping center or store to unload goods in your trunk and then go back in to shop.

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