A gang of thieves who specialize in breaking into cars and stealing the driver’s licenses, personal checks and debit cards of women has arrived in Maine, at least two police departments are warning.

The Bath Police Department posted a warning Tuesday on its Facebook page about the “Felony Lane Gang,” a loosely organized group of criminals from Florida who target vehicles parked at gyms, fitness centers, parks and day care centers. The Winslow Police Department posted a warning on its Facebook page Monday.

Bath police Detective Marc Brunelle said he has seen evidence that the gang may have recently started operating in the midcoast area.

“We can’t pinpoint where they are, but we have investigated a couple of break-ins in this area,” Brunelle said Tuesday evening. “The best thing people can do to help us is to lock your cars and hide your valuables.”

Bath police said the gang, which originated in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, several years ago, has been known to recruit local women who resemble their victims to cash checks. The women also wear wigs and use makeup to enhance the resemblance.

The local operatives drive rental cars with tinted windows and fake or stolen license plates when they go to a financial institution to cash a check. Law enforcement agencies across the U.S. call them the Felony Lane Gang because its members prefer to use the drive-up lane farthest from the sight of a teller in an attempt to avoid detection.

A group of victims calling itself the Felony Lane Gang Task Force maintains a Facebook page to raise awareness about the criminal operation. On the page there is a map of the U.S. identifying locations where the gang has been active. In the corner of the map is a tagline that reads: “Felony Lane Gang. Targeting Moms.”

According to the task force, the Felony Lane Gang “has been operating for years, raking in millions of dollars with criminal activity that crosses multiple state lines. Up until recent months, many of these cases were filed away as local burglaries and the bigger picture was missed entirely. These cases are connected … very well connected and this page is working hard to put the puzzle pieces together.”

The task force says the gang likes to target vehicles operated by women because it believes there is an increased chance of finding an unattended purse.

Gang members conduct surveillance on cars left at gyms, parks, day care centers and sporting events and enter unlocked vehicles or locked vehicles by using a window punch to break the glass. The gang recruits local women – mostly prostitutes or drug addicts – to cash stolen checks.

Detective Brunelle said there is no particular reason he is aware of that the gang would come to Maine.

“They like to move around especially when they feel law enforcement is getting too close,” Brunelle said. “I think it’s more of a natural progression.”

Brunelle said local fitness clubs, including the Bath Area Family YMCA, have been made aware of the gang’s presence.

“In the past, YMCA parking lots have been hit by this group,” the Bath YMCA said in a warning posted on its Facebook page. “Just a reminder to keep your valuables at home, with you, or locked for safety.”

Bath police are urging residents not to confront gang members and to report all suspicious activity to the police department.