MILL CREEK — A gang of out-of-state identity thieves is believed to be targeting people in Western Washington.
Investigators say the ‘Felony Lane Gang’ is highly organized and has already stolen thousands of dollars from local people.
Police say the thieves target parked cars and steal purses, wallets, anything they can use to steal an identity.
One man from Florida is facing a felony charge in Snohomish County after allegedly repeatedly victimizing a local woman.
“Oh my gosh, it’s horrible. It’s a complete violation,” said Keri Street, who added that she was victimized twice by the same thief.
Someone stole her purse out of her parked car last fall when she dropped her kids off at day care.
“I felt that they were personally out to get me and I was just terrified,” said Street.
Snohomish County prosecutors have charged Ronald Rhoda of Hollywood, Fla., with first-degree identity theft in connection to Street’s case.
The Mukilteo Police Department said Rhoda has been jailed in Williamsburg, Va., since March.
Street’s case is not the only one.
Police say Rhoda and his crew from the crime ring called the Felony Lane Gang are connected to cases all across the metro area, including Mill Creek, Everett, Bothell, and Kirkland.
Police say the gang targeted victims up and down the Interstate 5 corridor since at least last fall.
Court papers say the gang would rent a car, tint the windows and remove the front license plate and use the farthest drive-up teller lane at banks in an attempt to squeak past surveillance while they cashed stolen checks.
But the camera caught them.
Street hopes other people will learn from her mistakes – and keep a closer eye on their belongings.
“Be aware of what’s going on around you, even if you’re in a hurry,” said Street. “Scan parking lots, make sure nothing’s going on. Take your personal things with you.”