Bartonville Police Chief Dave Howell said last week that his department is stepping up patrols on FM407 in response to an increase in accidents and warned residents to be alert for activity by a group known as the “Felony Lane Gang” that is believed to be responsible for several area vehicle break-ins.
Howell said a fatality accident near Copper Canyon in March is just one of many accidents that have occurred along FM407 recently.
The “Felony Lane Gang” hit the town in early May, Howell said.
The gang originated in Florida and breaks into cars and targets women’s purses. Police said members of the gang are organized and experienced and use vehicles rented with stolen credit cards and stolen identification.
Officials said the gang hit a day care center parking lot where one vehicle was broken into.
“Within a couple of hours, our victim’s identity was used to forge a check in Arlington,” Howell said in a news release.
A Montessori school near Chinn Chapel Road and a day care center in Flower Mound also were hit, police said.
The next day, the vehicle used in the Arlington forgery was used in Plano to commit several similar offenses at day care centers.
“Since, our victim’s identity has been used several times to forge stolen checks in Arlington,” Howell said.
Police urge women to always take their purses with them when leaving their vehicles. The gang typically targets women dropping off small children at day care centers or Montessori-type schools.
Howell said the gang works across area jurisdictions in hopes of delaying criminal investigation. Bartonville is working with several other agencies in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to target the criminals.
Officials said they will reassess the areas along FM407 every 30 days.
Police said anyone who sees suspicious persons or activity should call 911.
MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.