Car burglaries possibly connected to gang crime

News

DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — An area gym is on alert after cars were burglarized during the day in the parking lot.

Police believe this is connected to a well-known organized crime group called the Felony Lane Gang.

Wednesday night, around 6:15, two car windows were smashed while parked at the Decatur Athletic Club. A purse and wallet were stolen. Based on a witness statement from a former local police detective, investigators say the suspects may be part of the Felony Lane Gang.

Police are looking for two men they believe did this, but they don’t have a lot of information to work with from the scene. Meanwhile, members and staff at this gym are thinking twice about leaving valuables in their cars.

Chuck Kuhle is the general manager. He says, “I think some people are just in a hurry and don’t think about it and think it’ll be okay. But it doesn’t take long for somebody to smash a window and grab your purse or briefcase.”

While the most recent break-ins were happening Wednesday, a witness told police he saw a man smashing a car window. Two suspects drove off in a getaway car with a Florida license plate. That clue led police to think a branch of the Felony Lane Gang did this.

The gang is based in Florida and the smash and grab crimes targeting fitness clubs fits its MO.

Gym members say they don’t really consider car break-ins might happen to them.

Cami McDonald says, “Honestly, it’s not, it’s the last thing I’m thinking about, which is not the best thing.”

The suspects tried to use credit cards they stole to charge more than $1,500 at a store in Taylorville but were unsuccessful.

Some gym members, like Jamie Newland, already take precautions to prevent this.

She says, “Usually I try to take everything with me because you never know. I also have my wallet that’s attached to my phone. That’s where I keep all my credit cards and all my personal stuff.”

Police suggest taking valuables out of your car. But if you can’t do that, put it all in a hidden area like your trunk.

It’s only been a couple months since police say the Felony Lane Gang first targeted Decatur. In February, a rash of similar car burglaries happened at the Decatur Athletic Club and the YMCA. Three women were later arrested in Indiana in connection to those crimes.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers. You can remain anonymous and may earn a cash reward.

Decatur & Macon County Crime Stoppers
(217) 423 – TIPS
Text: DPD333 + info to CRIMES (274637)

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