Four Florida residents are expected to appear in court Monday morning, facing charges of breaking into numerous vehicles at area parks and trailheads in the Bozeman area.
According to the Bozeman Police Department, during the week April 27, 2020, a number of vehicles’ windows were broken out and personal property and identification were stolen.
Elmer Denardo Ellison, Andrea Latie Monroe, Xavier Avanti Taylor and Joshua David Blair, all of Florida, were arrested and charged with felony criminal mischief and felony tampering with physical evidence.
The four are suspects in a multi-jurisdictional investigation of organized groups referred to as the “Felony Lane Gang.”
According to court documents, the Felony Lane Gang targets individuals across the country, stealing from vehicles, committing identity theft , fraud and forgeries. Members of the gang would reportedly steal mail, identification information and use victims’ IDs and credit cars to commit more crimes, like fraud or going on shopping sprees with stolen credit cards.
Law enforcement said typically groups work in tandem to commit “smash-and-grabs” of vehicles or mail boxes while others cash or transfer money via prepaid gift cards. The group would use women to cash checks, often allegedly wearing wigs to avoid detection.
According to the Felony Lane Gang Task Force, over the past five years more than 1,500 members have been identified and arrested.
On April 30, the Bozeman Police Department and the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office received several reports of thefts from vehicles, where Blair, Ellison, Taylor and Monroe broke into vehicles and stole driver’s licenses, financial documents, credit and debit cards, check books, cash and other personal property.
The break-ins took place at:
Lindley Park area, Bozeman - a driver’s side window broken out and a purse and contents stolen.
Softball Complex, Bozeman - vehicle broken into and purse and contents stolen.
Peets Hill Park, Bozeman - vehicle window broken out and purse and contents stolen.
Bozeman Ponds Area, Bozeman - vehicle window broken out and purse, portable electronics and eyewear were stolen.
Cherry Creek Fishing Access, Bozeman - vehicle window broken out and purse, wallet and credit/debit cards were stolen.
Other break-ins were reported at the Bozeman Sports Park where several vehicles were broken into and at Montana Kids.
Through witness accounts and a joint investigation, four subjects responsible for the break-ins and thefts were placed under arrest on Friday, May 1, 2020. These subjects are being held in the Gallatin County Detention Center for criminal mischief and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence, both felony offenses. The subject’s will be seen in Gallatin County Justice Court on Monday, May 4 at 10:30 am.
As the investigation continues, agencies are aware there may be un-reported incidents of vehicle break-ins and theft. Law enforcement encourages anyone who suspects their vehicle may have been unlawfully entered, even if no theft occurred, to contact the Bozeman Police Department at 406-582-2000, or the Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office at 406-582-2100.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.