Four Florida men believed to be part of the notorious “Felony Lane Gang” are accused of three vehicle burglaries in Baton Rouge, including one in which a woman’s purse was stolen from her car while she visited her mother’s grave.
The gang is known nationwide for traveling in groups and breaking into vehicles “for the sole purpose of gathering female victims' IDs, checks and debit cards,” the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office wrote in a report.
The four men were arrested Feb. 15 with five other suspected members in Jefferson Parish, but they now face additional counts of principal to simple burglary and principal to theft in Baton Rouge, according to East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office reports.
Those booked into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on Thursday were: Michael Duncan Gibbs, 24; Frank Jackson III, 23; Shawn Marquise Adams, 22; and Kevon Maurice Brown, 21, all of Florida.
“(They) specifically target vehicles parked at schools, playgrounds, workout facilities, etc.,” Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said in a news release. “They target these locations because many individuals have a tendency to leave their personal items in their vehicles while using these locations.”
Deputies say the female gang members then cash the stolen checks using stolen IDs at the bank drive-through lane. The farthest lane from video cameras and tellers has been dubbed the “felony lane” because of the ease with which false identities can be used to cash checks.
“When they get the money, they then divide the money among the whole group,” deputies said.
The four men booked in the Baton Rouge thefts are accused of breaking into vehicles on Feb. 5 at Resthaven Funeral Home on Jefferson Highway and at BREC Park on Highland Road, deputies say. Windows of the vehicles at the park were smashed to gain access, and the truck at the cemetery was unlocked, deputies reported.
Several checks stolen from one of the vehicles broken into at the park were cashed a few days later in Arlington, Texas, which is where some of members of the crew went after Baton Rouge.
Natasha Hammett, 27, and Christine Wagner, 52, however, were arrested on Feb. 7 trying to cash at an area bank one of the stolen checks that had been stolen from the purse of the woman parked at the cemetery
Hammett told deputies that a man named Brandon Gassett, 26, brought her from Florida and was a member of the Felony Lane Gang. Gassett was arrested Feb. 15 in Jefferson Parish with the men who have now been booked in Baton Rouge.
Hammett and Wagner were arrested in a car that Shawn Marquise Adams’ girlfriend, Tokoya Britt, 26, told deputies Adams had rented. Britt, who was also arrested Feb. 15, told investigators that she and Adams drove from Florida to Louisiana in that car and had spent time in Baton Rouge recently.
According to court documents, Gibbs, of Ft. Lauderdale, has burglary arrests in seven states; Jackson, of Lauderdale Lakes, has burglary arrests in four states; and Brown, of North Lauderdale, has burglary arrests in four states.
Shawn Marquise Adams also was previously booked in Louisiana under the fake name of Quest Variance, according to the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office.
The arrests aren’t the first for gang members in Baton Rouge.
Two women believed to be part of gang were arrested in January, accused of multiple car burglaries in the Baton Rouge area since October and of cashing thousands of dollars in stolen checks.
Two women believed to be part of the Florida-based "Felony Lane Gang" were arrested Friday, …
And in July 2014, two women were arrested on similar counts for burglaries in East Baton Rouge Parish.
Jefferson Parish detectives say they have been tracking since August gang members who have been operating in East Baton Rouge, Jefferson, St. Tammany, Orleans and Lafayette parishes.