Like a game of a whack-a-mole, the Broward-spawned Felony Lane Gang just doesn't go away. Made up of sneaky crews that work parking lots and bank drive-thus across America, the loose federation of criminals is more joined by area code and game plan than an actual organized hierarchy. As we discussed in a cover story earlier this year, Felony Lane Gang crews are often tied to Broward County, with South Floridians showing up on the police blotters in some unexpected places. Like the most recent jurisdiction grappling with Felony Lane — Clarksville, Tennessee.
For a refresher, remember that Felony Lane Gang scams are usually elaborately planned con jobs that begin with car breaks ins at daycares, gyms, coffee shops, and other locations where a unsuspected woman might leave her purse while she runs inside. The "jack boys" are usually looking for IDs, credit cards, and checks. In stage two, other members of the crew will take a stolen check, scribble in a sum of money to another victim, then disguise themselves to look like the second victim, so as to pass when cashing the first victim's stolen check. Gussied up to pass for the second victim, crews will often use the lane furthest from the bank in the ATM drive-thru — the felony lane, get it?
But the standard Felony Lane scam didn't go textbook smooth for Detra Lapaglia and Kayla Taylor recently. According to a report in the Clarksville Leaf-Chronicle, the two women were taken into custody in late September after trying and failing to cash a stolen check with a stolen ID.
According to the report, on September 21, Lapaglia and Taylor attempted to cash the check using an ID at the Clarksville bank. The teller, however, immediately, knew something was up. The ID the women were claiming to use — it actually belonged to a woman who worked at the very same bank branch. The teller already knew her co-worker had had her ID jacked in May.
The shade-ball women ran from the bank before police could get to the scene. They obviously released something was amiss. But when the pair tried to cash another check at another Clarkesville bank branch, the tellers there caught on, called police, and stalled the two as law enforcement swooped in.
“Throughout the course of the investigation I was able to connect Detra Lapaglia and Kayla Taylor to the FLG," Clarksville Police Det. Chris Cunningham told the Leaf-Chronicle. "I was also able to confirm the connection with the FLG and the May daycare burglaries. During the investigation, it was also learned that Mrs. Lapaglia and Mrs. Taylor were involved in the same check fraud scheme in numerous surrounding jurisdictions throughout Tennessee.”
And yup, you already might have guessed it, but there's Broward County connection: Lapaglia is from Fort Lauderdale, where her local criminal record only extends to some traffic tickets. Now, she's sitting in a Tennessee jail house on forgery, theft and identity theft charges.