A federal grand jury in Harrisburg has returned an indictment charging 10 members of an alleged crime ring that targeted vehicles in state parks across central Pennsylvania.
U.S. Attorney Peter Smith said the ten defendants are members of the "Felony Lane Gang," a crime organization based primarily in south Florida.
Smith said the group is responsible for the so-called "smash and grab" thefts of wallets and checkbooks from unattended cars across the country. He said the thieves use the stolen information at the drive-thru windows of banks and credit unions, where they pose as their victims and withdraw money from their accounts.
The 10 people charged in the indictment allegedly struck Pennsylvania from August to October 2012 and targeted state parks where victims left their purses, wallets and checkbooks in their cars, Smith said.
The "smash and grabs" occurred at approximately 25 different state parks and recreation centers in and around central and northern Pennsylvania. More than 100 people were victimized and tens of thousands of dollars were stolen, Smith said.
Each of the defendants was charged with conspiracy to commit fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft.
They were identified as Travis J. Russ, 30, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Sylvester Joseph, 26, of Derrfield, Florida; Jarrett Hobbs, 31, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Khiante Thompson, 20, of Florida; Phillip Etienne, 31, of Margate, Florida; Willie L. Ogiste, 35, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Teresa L. Brimhall, 45, of Oakland Park, Florida; April Ainsworth, 26, of Richmond, Texas; Colleen Shelly, 49, of Lauderdale Lakes, Florida; and Wendy Snyder-Lucas, 31, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.