Theft gang leader gets 15 years - abc27 WHTM

Theft gang leader gets 15 years

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A Florida man will spend more than 15 years in a federal prison for leading a group of thieves behind more than 100 "smash and grab" thefts at central Pennsylvania parks during the late summer and early fall of 2012.

Travis J. Russ, 32, of Fort Lauderdale, was sentenced Tuesday to 188 months in prison by U.S. District Senior Judge William Caldwell in Harrisburg.

Federal prosecutors say Russ was the leader of a Florida-based crime ring dubbed the "Felony Lane Gang," a group of thieves who broke into unattended cars to steal checkbooks and wallets and then posed as the victims to make cash withdrawals at banks across the country.

Russ and nine members of the group struck central Pennsylvania between August and October 2012.

During that time, authorities said they carried out their "smash and grabs" at approximately 25 parks in central Pennsylvania and stole the identities of more than 100 people.

Nationwide, Russ and his crew stole over a million dollars and victimized more than 250 people during the five years before their arrests in the fall of 2012, prosecutors said.

Russ and nine others were charged in December 2012 with conspiracy to commit fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft. All have entered guilty pleas.

Six members of the gang have been dealt prison sentences of between 11 and 46 months. Sentencing is pending for three others.


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