The iconic “Florida man” escapades should be familiar to any Florida resident. From an incident involving an alligator in a Wendy’s drive-through to another involving a naked theft of a restaurant urinal, the legendary Florida man has established himself as equal parts dangerous and unpredictable. For motor vehicle owners in Florida, however, there is a valuable lesson on car theft to be learned from a recent Florida man excursion.
In September of 2019, 27 year-old Florida man Damian Fletcher began routinely flying from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Portland, Oregon. Fletcher would stay for a short period, usually two to five weeks at a time, before returning home to Florida. During his stay, however, he was up to no good. He was conspiring with accomplices to plan vehicle break-ins, targeting cars with female owners.
Over a few months, Fletcher and his crew managed to break into 32 cars. They accumulated nearly $100,000 in profits from stolen cash, checks, and valuables. They had planned to cash over $122,000 in additional checks throughout Portland, but they were unsuccessful for the most part. On May 3rd, Fletcher was sentenced for his crimes and ordered to pay a restitution fee of the amount stolen.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth Uram acted as prosecutor for the case. He believed that these crimes are a part of a Florida-based crime project dubbed the “Felony Lane Gang.” The name comes from their use of the outermost lane at a bank drive-through. It’s harder for bank tellers to identify forged, fake, or stolen IDs with suspects in the furthest lane away. Thus, this lane is considered the “felony lane.” More details on the story can be found here.
Avoiding Car Theft
There are many things Florida residents can learn from this crime ring that preys on unattended vehicles. These criminals are travelling across the US to commit these crimes, but vehicle theft is still very common in Florida. So, it’s important to re-evaluate our habits on and off the roadway, especially when leaving vehicles in public places. To best avoid vehicle theft, there are a number of helpful habits to establish:
- Always lock and remove keys from unattended vehicles.
- Keep all valuables out of sight when kept in the car. The trunk is a very safe place for anything valuable. Easily visible valuables are a car-thief magnet.
- Ensure you have a working alarm system in your vehicle. If you do not have one currently, they are absolutely worth the investment.
Uram had also mentioned that the bulk of these break-ins happened only moments after a woman left her car. The crew chose these few moments to break into vehicles, which may have been avoidable. The simple habits above, a fair bit of attention to detail, and diligence can save you from a car thief.
Contact Brooks Law Group
We hope everyone stays safe from any sort of vehicle danger. But if you find yourself in a motor vehicle accident, call us to see how we can help you. Our expert team of attorneys are ready to assist you and get you back on the roads. Call us at 1-800-LAW-3030 or contact us online today!