National crime syndicate suspected in NJ car burglaries
FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP — A series of car burglaries across the state has law enforcement looking for answers and wondering whether the incidents are connected to a national crime syndicate.
On April 28, five cars were broken into at Michael J. Tighe Park, according to local police. The burglars smashed the side windows of the cars and took pocketbooks and wallets.
On the same day, two cars were reported broken into at the Howell Little League South complex on Lakewood Allenwood Road in the neighboring town, police there said. There was also a car broken into at the Gold's Gym on Route 9 that day, according to police. Much like the Freehold burglaries, the windows of the cars were smashed and handbags were taken.
Howell police also reported that the suspects involved in the incident at the gym, a black Cadillac Escalade, is believed to be the same one used in the Freehold Township burglaries.
In addition to the incidents in Howell, there were also two cars broken into in nearby Wall on the same day, according to a story on NJ.com. Howell police said the incidents in Monmouth County could be connected to others in Egg Harbor Township, Hamilton and Linwood.
"All appear to be the same style of burglary and consistent with criminal activity associated with the 'Felony Lane Gang,'" Howell police said in a statement.
The FBI describes the Felony Lane Gang as "a group of organized burglary and identity theft rings originating in South Florida and operating in multiple jurisdictions throughout the United States." While there similarities in the actions of the gang members the FBI said they are usually "decentralized crews" who operate on their own.
Felony Lane Gang activity has been known to include the use of rental vehicles with "heavily-tinted windows" to conduct surveillance and steal items including credit cards and check books. The stolen checks and IDs are then used to take money from victim's accounts before they know there was a problem at all, according to the FBI.