A Known Crime Ring Strikes in Gainesville
In 2009 identity theft cost Americans 54 billion dollars according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. And a crime ring specializing in fraud has made a hit in Gainesville, reminding us that identity theft can happen to anyone.
Lieutenant Jaret Weiland of the Gainesville Police Department said, "They drive up and down the interstate and target places that they know people are gonna leave items in the car."
The crime ring known as "Felony Lane" has been operating for over a year in counties along Florida's interstate and the Gainesville Police Department said they have two members in their custody.
Rick Jason Green and Joshua Mason Virtanen were arrested on Friday. Police said they broke into an employee's car at Gainesville Health and Fitness on Newberry Road, stealing his wallet and then going on a spending spree around Gainesville.
A clerk at Champs called police after they tried to use a cancelled card. Also, a Target employee remembered their vehicle description because he helped the two men load purchased items into their car. Their help allowed police to track down Green and Virtanen within 24 hours of the crime.
But Lieutenant Weiland said that although they caught the suspects relatively quickly, there isn't always such a speedy resolution. Which is another reason why it's so important not to provide criminals with any opportunity to steal your identity.
Lieutenant Weiland said if you are deliberate about protecting your valuables, it will go a long way towards ensuring you don't become part of the troubling identity theft statistics.
There are resources available to learn how to protect yourself...go to www.idtheftcenter.org
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