3 arrested in felony lane schemes
Investigators say schemes becoming more common in NE Fla.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Investigators are trying to stomp out a crime that's growing more common in northeast Florida: the felony lane gang scheme.
Three more people have been arrested in the scheme -- two in Jacksonville and one in Clay County.
The suspects -- Naomi Hill, 24, and Nathan Sullivan, 28, both of Jacksonville, and Trenard Shingles, 28, of Clay County -- are accused of stealing people's banking information and then trying to clean them out by posing as their victims.
The scheme is called "felony lane" because the criminals steal people's stuff, then go to a bank and use the last lane of the drive-through, farthest from the teller so the bank employees have a harder time seeing them as they try to take the victims' money.
Sometimes the thieves dress up to look like their victims, wearing sunglasses and wigs, investigators said.
Sunni Rigdon said she was at her cousin's baby shower when the suspects allegedly struck, breaking into her car and several others and stealing purses.
"My ID, my credit cards, my military ID. I had tax documents," Rigdon said of what was stolen.
Then the suspects took that information and tried to use it to take all Rigdon had, police said.
"It was about a week later," she said. "They tried to cash a check to me and they were writing checks from me also."
Rigdon, already aware of the burglary, shut down her account and took it to Jacksonville police, who arrested Hill and Sullivan.
Deputies in St. Johns and Clay counties say they're dealing with the same scheme.
Recently, Clay County authorities tracked down Trenard Shingles in South Florida. He was wanted in connection with a string of crimes in northeast Florida.
"They tend to target day cares, gyms, churches," Jacksonville police Officer Shannon Hartley said.
Hartley has helped solve some of the felony lane cases over the years. He said the criminals are targeting people who feel safe. He said they often work in small groups, and they move quickly.
"A lot of times is, they're from out of town," Hartley said. "So they will drive up from another area of Florida, for example, conduct these criminal activities in Jacksonville, and then go take their stuff and go home."
It's illegal activity like that that has police and banks on high alert. Rigdon said she hopes to see the people accused of trying to rip her off spend a long time behind bars.
"I would love to see them go to prison," she said.
Hill and Shingles are still in jail. Sullivan has been released on bond but did not answer a call for comment.
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