Florida identity theft ring operating in north suburbs - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

Florida identity theft ring operating in north suburbs

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WINNETKA, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A Florida woman, arrested Thursday after trying to cash a forged check at a north suburban bank, is believed to part of an identity theft ring working out of Florida.

Molly E. Meiring, 35, of the 5700 block of 18th Avenue in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was charged with identity theft and forgery, according to Winnetka police.

Meiring tried to cash a forged check Thursday at the drive-through of the Northern Trust bank branch at 62 Green Bay Rd. in Winnetka, police said in a statement.

The bank teller recognized her because she had done the same thing the day before, which had triggered an internal security alert at the bank, Winnetka police said. The bank called police while Meiring was still at the drive-through and she was arrested.

Police say the crime follows the pattern used by the "Florida Felony Lane Gang," which steals checks, forges signatures and recruits people to cash them.

A woman, dressed to closely resemble the victim based upon the stolen ID, makes the withdrawals from the account, Winnetka police said. Other members of the ring remain nearby in another vehicle as lookouts and to remain in contact with the woman.

Two women's purses were stolen from unattended vehicles parked in Northbrook and Evanston, Winnetka police said. The identification, checkbooks and other bank information were used to write the checks against the victims' accounts.

Bond was set Monday at $35,000 for Meiring, who is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing Dec. 10 in Skokie.

Residents are urged to lock vehicles and store valuables out of sight to protect their identities and assets.

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