Ellen Goldberg, NBC 5 News
Police say the thieves use stolen identities to cash fraudulent checks.
Police say a Florida-based group of thieves that targets the cars of mothers in parking lots is believed to have stolen more than $100,000 in McKinney.
McKinney police said thieves stole the purse and identity of a mother at Kids R Kids day care earlier this week, one of more than a half dozen such break-ins.
"The criminal will actually get inside their vehicle, and they blend right in with the crowds that are dropping off their children as well," Deputy Chief Scott Brewer said.
McKinney police said they believe the group dubbed the "Felony Lane Gang" may be operating in Dallas, Tarrant and Collin counties.
The group steals purses from cars at day cares, where many women tend to leave purses unattended. The thieves then clean out the victims' bank accounts.
Investigators call the group the Felony Lane Gang because the thieves cash checks in the far lane of the bank's drive-thru, making it difficult for tellers to identify them.
"What we do know from the investigation is that they will go to great lengths to disguise themselves and to dress up and look like the people that they are trying to steal their identity," Brewer said.
Coppell police arrested three men Thursday after someone saw them steal a purse from a day care parking lot.
Investigators said the group could have as many as 100 members.
"It's hard to determine how exactly people are participating in these crimes," Brewer said.
According to reports, the Felony Lane Gang has stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars nationwide.
Police said women should never leave their purses in their car and should never leave their vehicle running, even if it is cold out and they will only be away for a minute.
"My routine -- leave the keys in the car, leave my purse, leave my phone, leave everything," said McKinney mother Mandy Redfield.
But she said she will be more careful after seeing a flier at her day care warning of the break-ins.
NBC 5's Ellen Goldberg contributed to this report.