On December 9th
, ACCPD obtained 15 arrest warrants for Emma Patrice McIlwain, 28 years
old from Punta Gorda, Florida, for her involvement in Felony Lane Gang crimes in Athens, Georgia,
in late October, 2019.
McIlwain is part of a large Felony Lane Gang, whose name stems from the location they
prefer to commit fraudulent transactions – a bank’s drive-thru lane farthest from the teller –
dubbed the “felony lane” by law enforcement. In order to commit the fraudulent transactions, the
gang commits other crimes such as entering autos, identity theft/fraud, and forgeries.
ACCPD Detective Nathaniel Franco determined that members of the Felony Lane Gang
visited Athens in September, 2019. McIlwain’s associates stole credit cards, checks, and identity
documents from a victim’s car in Ben Burton Park on September 17, 2019. (Incident Number: 2019-
09170193) Det. Franco confirmed that McIlwain used these stolen documents to withdraw almost
$22,000 from banks in Winder, Watkinsville, and Athens (including the victim’s bank account), on
October 25, 2019. (Incident Number: 2019-10250155)
In a related incident, a Felony Gang member used identity documents stolen from a parked
car in Southeast Clarke Park on September 17, 2019, in fraudulent transactions in Charleston, SC.
(Incident Number: 2019-09170204)
McIlwain was arrested in Butte, Montana, in November, 2019, while possessing stolen
identity information and forged checks in unrelated cases. She is currently being held in Montana
on those offenses.
Det. Franco identified and linked McIlwain to the Athens’ incidents with assistance from the
FBI and detectives from the Butte-Silver Bow Law Enforcement Department in Butte, Montana.
In Athens-Clarke County, McIlwain is facing 14 Felony Charges and 1 Misdemeanor Charge
including Identity Fraud, Forgery in the First Degree, Felony Theft by Deception, Criminal Attempt to
Commit Theft by Deception, Financial Transaction Card Theft, and Theft by Receiving Stolen
According to Det. Franco, Felony Lane Gangs have targeted Athens several times over the
last year. These gangs select parks, daycares, gyms, and other public places where purses or wallets
are left in vehicles. A gang member breaks the vehicle window, grabs a purse or wallet, and then
leaves the area in a rented car, frequently with a stolen tag.
“These gangs operate in broad daylight and wait for individuals to leave their vehicle to pick
up children, take a walk, or workout,” said Detective Franco, who has been with the ACCPD for over
11 years. “It is important to always remove valuable items from your vehicle. If you are a victim,
you should contact the ACCPD but also remember to reach out to your bank and credit card
companies, as well as keep a close eye on your accounts to prevent fraudulent transactions.”
2019-09170193 - 2019-09170204 - 2019-10250155