HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Six Florida bandits, dubbed the Felony Lane Gang, are behind bars. Four in Orlando and two in Sumner County.
The mistake they all made was traveling to Hendersonville, where police say they broke car windows and stole purses and credit cards.
According to Hendersonville investigators, the people arrested are part of a crime organization that travels from South Florida to major cities and surrounding communities to commit crimes.
Detective Sgt. Chris Gagnon of HPD says, “Sometimes it is local parks, a gym, or other areas where people congregate and women are likely to leave their purses in a vehicle.”
Two of the six people arrested were busted after they allegedly broke into cars at the YMCA and stole items, including credit cards. These two are in the Sumner County Jail.
The other four men are accused of breaking into multiple cars at Mary’s Magical Place, a community playground for everyone including children with disabilities.
Police say it is unclear if the two groups are connected, but police say they have much in common.
All six people are from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. They all traveled to Middle Tennessee in Rental cars, a common practice utilized by the Felony Lane Gang. Police say they all have warrants all over the eastern seaboard for similar offenses.
Gagnon says, “They basically hit a circuit, the main interstate corridors, go up through the major cities, suburban areas around the major cities, knock out a few windows, snag a few purses, and then utilize cash and checks, and they do draw in a tremendous amount of money for the little work they do over a five, six, seven day period.”
Some of the crimes took place at Mary’s Magical Place, a playground next to the bypass.
Rachel McAuley co-founded this special playground.
Rachel McAuley says, “My daughter was Mary and she had severe cerebral palsy and was in a wheelchair and could not play on everyday playgrounds.”
When Mary died four years ago, Rachel knew she had to do something special in her daughter’s memory.
“This playground is built for everyone; wheelchairs, walkers, grandparents mothers, veterans, walkers, strollers, you name it.”
When she learned that members of a crime syndicate out of South Florida came to this special place to commit crime, McAuley became emotional and sad.
“It is very upsetting. If I get emotional, you know we all work hard in this city and throughout, to raise funds.”
This past weekend, Police say Mary’s Magical Place was hit multiple times by the Felony Lane Gang. According to Hendersonville police, four men from Fort Lauderdale broke car windows and stole purses and credit cards here.
The men were able to get out of the city, but good police work and community involvement lead to good information that led to their ultimate arrest.
Rachel says, “Leave our city alone, leave this place alone. This is for our children and families and this was in memory of my daughter.”
A woman who witnessed one of the crimes describes that moment to News 2.
“We heard a bang and like a crash and saw a car leaving abruptly and we realized he had shattered the passenger side window and he had grabbed her purse and wallet.”
Hendersonville police were able to get crucial information to Florida State Troopers who spotted the suspect vehicle on a highway outside Orlando. The Florida cops busted the quartet of alleged thieves who were reportedly on their way back to South Florida.
Rachel says, “I was like yes! Our Hendersonville P.D. rocks! I will say I prayed. Please catch these bad guys. Not this place of all places.”
The four men arrested in Florida are charged with fraudulent use of a credit card, burglary, and theft. No word when they will be extradited back to Tennessee.
Hendersonville police say they have been approached by multiple police agencies up and down the Eastern seaboard about the felony gang arrests they recently made.
News 2 is tracking crime where you live with CrimeTracker reports.