Three members of a sophisticated organized crime group known as the “Felony Lane Gang” were arrested in Rowlett on Tuesday after they stole women’s purses from cars parked briefly outside two busy daycares, police said.
"They don't know these suspects are there watching with dark-tinted windows, sitting back in the parking lot,” said Rowlett police detective Cruz Hernandez.
The group is based in South Florida and has targeted the Dallas area and other large cities for months, he said.
"They go up, punch the window, grab the purse, and they're gone,” Hernandez said. “They're looking for ID's, credit cards, checkbooks and cash."
He estimated the entire theft takes 10 to 15 seconds.
The group is called the “Felony Lane Gang” because members try to cash stolen checks by going to the far lane of bank drive-thrus – known as the “felony lane” because it is harder for surveillance cameras to see them.
"With this group in town, keep your purse with you,” Hernandez said. “These people here are looking for an easy smash and grab and getaway."
Arrested were Anthony Turner, 28; Demetrius Cunningham, 27; and his brother, Michael Cunningham, 28, all of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The men are charged with engaging in organized criminal activity and each held in the Lew Sterrett Justice Center on $100,000 bond.
"We want them to know that we know they're in town and we're onto them,” Hernandez said. “And we're going to catch them, put them in jail and hold them."
Hernandez said perhaps two dozen other members of the group remain in North Texas.