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Police Say Smash & Grab Suspects Part Of Large ID Theft Ring

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LITTLETON, Colo. (CBS4) – The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department has released surveillance pictures of a group suspected in a metro area wide string of identity thefts.

The suspects are casing locations and breaking into vehicles. They’re part of an ID theft ring that’s cashed in thousands of dollars in stolen checks.

Police believe they’re responsible for more than 50 smash-and-grab style thefts from cars, 38 of those at fitness center parking lots around the Denver metro area.

“This is happening in the middle of the day time in a very populated area, which clearly to them it’s worth their time to try it,” Jacki Kelley with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department said.

In Jefferson County the thieves hit the Bally Total Fitness located at 8966 West Bowles Avenue twice in the span of 30 minutes last week. In surveillance video the suspects can be seen driving a black SUV around the parking lot looking for a victim.

In part of the video the suspect can be seen leaving his SUV, heading for the target, and then walking back. In all the crime took only 20 seconds.

“They’re so quick. It’s done as quickly as you’ll see on the video. It takes no time to smash a window, grab what you need and move on,” Kelley said.

Once they steal a purse, other members of the ring write themselves checks and then head to a drive-through bank to cash in.

Amanda Applebee is at the Bally’s five days a week and says now she’ll think twice about what she leaves in her car.

“I do have a padlock, so I guess I’m more careful with my work clothes than I am with my wedding ring and my purse,” Applebee said.

The suspects are bold and will go for anything in plain sight.

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