A team of New Jersey investigators arrested five members of a burglary crew suspected of targeting high-end homes across the region just as the thieves were trying to crack open a stolen safe stolen from a backcountry Greenwich home on Thursday, authorities said.
Five Englewood men were charged after investigators learned they burglarized a home in Greenwich, the Morris County, NJ Prosecutor’s Office announced Friday. Items taken from the home, including the safe, were seized in the bust made at an Englewood garage late Thursday, along with burglary tools.
Greenwich Police were investigating the Thursday night burglary of a Wildflower Trail home in the northwest area of Greenwich. "The burglars forced their way to enter the residence. They took a very heavy, very large safe from the residence and fled prior to the arrival of police. It took multiple people to move it," Greenwich Police spokesman Lt. Kraig Gray said Friday.
Gray said police were summoned to the home about 8:30 p.m. by a neighbor "who saw suspicious activity and reported it to police. Detectives and patrol officers flooded the area and discovered the break-in." Gray added, "We have developed solid suspects and believe an arrest is imminent." Wildflower Trail is off Pecksland Road in the northwest corner of Greenwich.
A message seeking comment from Greenwich Police on the arrests was not immediately returned.
Several of the men have lengthy criminal histories, some with links to the James Bond Gang, a high-end burglary syndicate rooted in Teaneck and Englewood.
“This is an excellent example of the amount of time and money needed to investigate and apprehend career criminals,” said Englewood Police Chief Arthur O’Keefe, whose officers assisted in the arrest. “They are skilled and experienced and recognize that most law enforcement agencies do not have the manpower and resources to dedicate, particularly when towns are cutting back financially.”
The raid netted 27-year-old Englewood fugitive Akeem Boone, authorities confirmed. Boone is well-known to North Jersey law enforcement, and was being sought as part of an anti-crime crackdown targeting violent drug traffickers around Englewood.
Earlier this month, authorities said a search of Boone’s home turned up a stolen handgun, drug packaging paraphernalia and about 20 grams of crack cocaine. The accused drug dealer was arrested in August 2011 alongside reputed James Bond Gang associate Jerry Montgomery, of Teaneck, after a high speed chase in Sparta.
Also captured was Marc Rainey, 25, who was the wheelman in a 2008 drive-by shooting at Englewood’s Rock Creek Terrace complex, O’Keefe said. Rainey was accused in May of burglarizing a Wyckoff home only three days after being released from prison.
Jamelle Singletary, 24, who is the nephew of reputed James Bond Gang affiliate Leon Roberts, was also captured in the arrest, authorities said.
Another alleged member of the crew, 27-year-old Jerrell Bordeaux, of Englewood, was acquitted in the shooting death of a friend near the city’s Parkview Terrace Apartments.
Morris County Prosecutor Robert A. Bianchi called the arrests a result of “joint operations and information sharing” across a host of law enforcement agencies.
“These criminals will also learn shortly that our already aggressive posture to prosecuting these cases in court will become heightened,” the prosecutor said.
The garage owner, 44-year-old Robert Hastu, was charged with maintaining premises for illegal activity for being paid to let the crew crack the safe on his property, police said.
O’Keefe said Hastu tried to flee but was tackled by Englewood Police Officer Timothy Barrett. He was being held on $10,000 bail, while the other four were each held on $750,000 bail.
All five men face charges including possession of burglary tools and receiving stolen property.
Locally, Teaneck and Englewood police, along with the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office and Sheriff’s Department aided in the captures.
Mike Pignataro contributed to this report.