Wigs, weed, stolen cards seized during traffic stop
METAIRIE - A traffic stop Tuesday led to the discovery of stolen driver's licenses, burglary tools and more than a dozen wigs investigators say were part of an organized burglary and identity theft operation.
Three people were arrested after a trooper stopped an SUV on a seat belt violation on Interstate 10 near Veterans Boulevard, according to a State Police news release. The people in the vehicle made the trooper suspicious.
A search turned up 40 grams of marijuana, 22 credit cards, 14 wigs, 11 driver's licenses, five checkbooks, three Social Security cards and $12,500 in cash, according to a news release.
Three "rescue punchers" -- which are designed to break vehicle windows in emergencies -- were also in the car, the release said.
The driver's licenses were from Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Colorado and Illinois. Federal investigators and detectives from St. Tammany Parish got involved in the investigation and were able to link some of the licenses to thefts in St. Tammany.
Authorities say the people arrested are part of the "Felony Lane Gang," a loosely-organized group of criminals from south Florida.
Gang members use rescue punchers to smash vehicle windows, particularly at health clubs, parks and day care centers, and steal financial and identity documents from women's purses left inside the vehicles. Women then disguise themselves as the victims and try to cash checks from other crimes through the victim's bank account.
The trio arrested in Jefferson Parish were Vanessa Fisher, 25, of Texas; David Heller Jr., 24, of Florida and Latoj Banks, 25, also of Florida. They were booked with marijuana possession and conspiracy to commit theft, burglary and bank fraud.
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