COLONIE — An alert teller led to the arrest of two Pennsylvania women who were allegedly attempting to commit bank fraud and are who are likely part of a larger conspiracy called the “Felony Lane Gang.”
According to Colonie police Lt. Daniel Belles, a teller at a local bank called police on Wednesday, June 15 at around 4 p.m., to report a woman who appeared to be in disguise and who was attempting to access a bank account using a stolen driver’s license.
The female left the bank prior to the police arriving, but Colonie officers spotted the vehicle a few minutes later. When they attempted to pull it over, the driver took off. Police lost sight of the vehicle near the Albany International Airport but found it abandoned near the Albany County Hockey Facility on Albany Shaker Road.
Information was developed which gave officers a direction of travel and a description of the woman and her passenger.
A perimeter was formed around a wooded area where the suspects believed to have entered and after 90 minutes – with the help of a Sheriff’s Department drone and K9 unit and a State Police helicopter — the two women were taken into custody.
Belles said both suspects appear to be operating as part of a regional or national fraud ring where thieves steal pocketbooks from vehicle and use the victim’s ID to commit bank fraud. They often alter their appearance to appear similar to the victim.
“This type of fraud operation is commonly referred to as the Felony Lane Gang,” Belles said. “Multiple local victims have already been identified, and we expect these suspects to be connected to many more victims as the investigation continues.”
The two women are Shannon M. Thompson, 36, and Melissa D. Farley. Both are from Pennsylvania, but Thompson has no known address and is listed as homeless.
Both are charged with the felonies of possession of a forged instrument, ID theft, and criminal possession of stolen property as well as the misdemeanor of criminal possession of stolen property. Thompson faces the additional misdemeanor of reckless driving and various vehicle and traffic infractions.
They were arraigned in the Town of Colonie Court and released to the supervision of the Albany County Probation Department. They are slated to re-appear in court on July 6.
“The Police Department would also like to thank the alert bank employee who reported this
Incident,” Belles said of the teller who recognized the woman as one who had possibly stolen from local banks in the past. “The employee was very observant, had good instincts, knew something was not right, and immediately contacted the police.”
The investigation is ongoing and anyone with relevant information is asked to call the Colonie Police Investigations Division at 518-783-2754.
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