A 36-year-old Plantation, Fla., woman has been sentenced to prison after she pleaded guilty in connection to Felony Lane Gang and “smash-and-grab” crimes throughout the Quad Cities.
Janice Cabano was sentenced on Wednesday in Scott County Court.
Court documents show Cabano pleaded guilty to theft in the second degree, for which she was sentenced to no more than five years. She also pleaded guilty to two counts of forgery, and was sentenced to no more than five years in prison for each count.
Additionally, court records show she pleaded guilty to two counts of identity theft over $1,500 but under $10,000, and was sentenced to no more than five years on each count.
The first three counts with be served concurrently, or one after the other, for a period of no more than 15 years. The other counts will run concurrently, or at the same time, with the other three, court documents show.
‘Smash-and-grab’ and Felony Lane Gang crimes
Police alleged that on March 25 and 26, 2022, Cabano passed, or attempted to pass, numerous forged stolen checks using stolen identification and stolen bank cards at different Scott County banks in Bettendorf, Davenport, Eldridge, and LeClaire, totaling over $17,000 in losses, arrest affidavits say.
“She also hit banks in Dewitt and Clinton, Iowa on those days,” according to arrest affidavits. All the stolen items had previously been stolen during numerous Felony Lane Gang-style smash-and-grab vehicle burglaries in Bettendorf, Davenport, and Eldridge, police alleged.
The Felony Lane Gang, according to the U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, is a group of thieves based in Fort Lauderdale that travels across the United States stealing identities and checkbooks from unattended cars (“smash-and-grabs.”)
With the stolen checkbooks and driver’s licenses, the gang cashes checks using the drive-through lanes of banks. The lane farthest from video cameras and tellers has been dubbed the “felony lane” because of the ease with which false identities can be used to cash checks.
A telltale tattoo
During the incidents, Cabano was driving a maroon 2020 Ford Edge that was rented by another woman from Plantation, Florida. A black 2020 Chrysler Voyager was seen on traffic cameras running in tandem with Cabano in the Ford Edge. The Voyager was found to be rented by a different woman from Hollywood, Florida, which is adjacent to Plantation, Florida, according to affidavits.
Affidavits say a fraudulent license plate was used on the Ford Edge during the incidents instead of its correct Florida license plate. Suspect photos from bank security video of the Bettendorf incident were emailed to the Florida Department of Transportation for a Florida driver’s license photo facial-recognition search. Florida returned only one possible match: Janice Cabano’s Florida driver’s license photos.
Police compared suspect photos against Cabano’s Florida driver’s license photos and identified her as the suspect in the fraud and forgery cases. Cabano was back in the Quad Cities at the end of July committing the same crimes, police allege in affidavits. Law enforcement identified Cabano as the suspect in the July incidents.
Suspect photos from the investigation showed the same flower tattoo on Cabano’s upper right arm as Cabano’s photos from her open-source Facebook page that show her upper right arm, according to police.
Police said Cabano had active warrants in Iowa, Tennessee, and North Carolina for the same type of crimes.