A national organized crime ring has been linked to recent thefts in the south metro area.
The Felony Lane Gang, based in south Florida, is suspected of three crimes in Centennial last month, according to the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office.
"These criminals target gyms, parks, daycares, shopping centers and other places frequented by women," a sheriff's office news release states. "They are often looking for vehicles that have been left briefly unattended and unlocked. They are specifically targeting pursues and checkbooks and have left electronics and credit cards untouched."
While the suspects prefer unlocked vehicles, they will smash windows to gain entrance if needed, the sheriff's office said. They are known to cash stolen checks at bank drive-through lanes.
Incidents linked to the gang were reported the mornings of Dec. 17 and 18 at three locations in Centennial: the 9000 block of E. Mineral Ave., the 6800 block of S. Homestead Parkway and the 10400 block of E. Easter Ave.
The sheriff's office said authorities are also investigating crimes that may be linked to the group in Douglas County, Aurora and other areas of Arapahoe County.
A national task force has been established to combat the gang. The Felony Lane Gang Task Force has a Facebook page dedicated to this pursuit.
"The Felony Lane Gang has been operating for years, raking in millions of dollars with criminal activity that crosses multiple state lines," the page says. "Up until recent months, many of these cases were filed away as local burglary and the bigger picture was missed entirely. These cases are connected...very well connected and this page is working hard to put the puzzle pieces together.
"Members of the Felony Lane Gang are normally based in south Florida and from there travel the country in rental vehicles... The suspects then recruit females who are normally prostitutes and/or drug addicts to assume the identities of the theft victims in order to cash stolen checks belonging to other victims."
The sheriff's office asks anyone with information about the local crimes to call its tip line at 720-874-8477.