A second-story burglary crew whose methods were based on “stereotype and opportunity” worked from a hit list of more than 50 homes owned by Asians in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, federal authorities charged Tuesday.
Local, state and federal law enforcement authorities who teamed up to smash the ring found notes in the defendants’ cars “containing the home addresses of individuals of Asian descent with derogatory descriptive terms to identify the ethnicity of the homeowners,” Acting U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Rachael A. Honig said.
Crew members got those addresses by breaking into the victims’ vehicles at their places of business, Honig said.
They also placed makeshift GPS devices on the vehicles, she said.
The burglars often made their way into the homes through unsecured second-floor windows before seeking out cash, jewelry and guns, Honig said.
Authorities smashed the ring after local police interrupted several burglaries in progress, the U.S. attorney said.
They recovered “tens of thousands of dollars in United States currency and currency from Asian countries, jewelry, family heirlooms, and other valuables that were previously reported stolen by victims,” she added.
“It is fitting that these arrests come at a time when society is raising awareness regarding crimes against our Asian-American citizens,” FBI-Newark Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. noted.
Honig identified those arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property as:
- Kevin Burton of Newark, NJ;
- Thomas Rodgers of Newark;
- Randi Barr of Irvington, NJ;
- Terrance Black of Irvington;
- Kevin Jackson of Rahway, NJ;
- Rabine Armour of Easton, PA;
- James Hurt of Tobyhanna, PA;
- Sherman Glasco of Bethlehem, PA.
Burton is also charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and with conspiring with a ninth defendant, Keesha Davis of Elizabeth, to tamper with evidence.
Armour, Burton, and Jackson were arrested in Old Bridge and Barr was arrested in Hazlet during burglaries in progress, Honig noted.
A major investigation followed, headed by FBI Newark’s Transnational Organized Crime Task Force assisted by the Middlesex County Prosecutors Office and police from Edison, Old Bridge, South Plainfield, Sayreville, Eatontown, Hazlet, Kenilworth and Spotswood in New Jersey, as well as South Whitehall, New Castle County and Pocono Township in Pennsyvlania and the NYPD, she said.
All of the defendants were scheduled for first appearances via videoconference Tuesday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge James B. Clark III in Newark.
Handling the case for the government is Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Keith Travers of Honig’s OCDETF/Narcotics Unit in Newark.
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