James Hurt, 47, of New York, was part of a second-story outfit that the FBI said worked from a hit list of dozens of homes in four states based on “stereotype and opportunity."
One of Hurt's associates told detectives that Asians were targeted “because it was believed that the victims kept large sums of currency and jewelry in their residences,” an FBI complaint says.
Notes found in the defendants’ cars had the home addresses of individuals of Asian descent, along with derogatory terms used to describe their ethnicity, according to the complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Newark.
Crew members got those addresses by breaking into the victims’ vehicles at their places of business, it says. In some cases, investigators said, they placed makeshift GPS devices on the vehicles.
The burglars often made their way into the homes through unsecured second-floor windows before seeking out cash, jewelry and guns, according to the FBI.
In one instance in 2019, $500,000 in cash was taken from a single home in Eatontown, the bureau said.
Local, state and federal law enforcement authorities teamed up to smash the ring after local police interrupted several burglaries in progress. A major investigation involving dozens of law enforcement agencies was headed by the FBI Newark’s Transnational Organized Crime Task Force.
Tens of thousands of dollars in stolen United States currency and currency from Asian countries, jewelry, family heirlooms, and other valuables were recovered in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the FBI said.
Several people, including Hurt, were arrested.
One of them, Randi Barr of Vauxhall, NJ, was sentenced last month to four years and two months in federal prison in exchange for his guilty plea to conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property. He must serve just about all of the 50-month sentence because there’s no parole in the federal prison system.
Hurt pleaded guilty to the same charge on Wednesday, Sept. 13, U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Philip R. Sellinger said.
U.S. District Judge Evelyn Padin scheduled his sentencing for Feb. 20, 2024. Authorities didn't say whether Hurt's deal includes him cooperating in the pending prosecutions of his partners.
Federal authorities identified them as:
- Kevin Burton of Newark, NJ;
- Thomas Rodgers of Newark;
- Terrance Black of Irvington;
- Kevin Jackson of Rahway, NJ;
- Rabine Armour of Easton, PA;
- Sherman Glasco of Bethlehem, PA.
All were charged with a single count of conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property. 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, NJ, and Barr was in Hazlet, NJ, during burglaries in progress, the FBI said.
Working with the bureau's Transnational Organized Crime Task Force were a host of agencies, including the New Jersey State Police, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police, the NYPD, the Middlesex and Union county prosecutor's offices, Delaware State Police-Troop 2 and the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, Sellinger said.
Key to the takedown, he said, were police in dozens of towns: Bernards Township, Bethlehem Township, Cherry Hill, Cinnaminson, Clark, Cranford, Delran, Edison, East Brunswick, East Hanover, Eatontown, Elizabeth, Evesham Township, Exeter Township, Fair Lawn, Fort Lee, Franklin Township, Glassboro, Gloucester Township, Hackensack, Old Bridge, South Plainfield, Sayreville, Hazlet, Highland Park, Hillside, Hillsborough Township, Howell Township, Jackson, Kenilworth, Lawrence Township, Linden, Lyndhurst, Mahwah, Marlboro Township, Maywood, Middletown, Montville, Morris Township, Mount Laurel, Mountainside, New Providence, North Brunswick, North Plainfield, Ocean Township, Wall Township, Union Township, Old Bridge, Paramus, Parsippany, Phillipsburg, Piscataway, Raritan, Roselle Park, Somerville, South Brunswick, Tinton Falls, Toms River, Warren, Washington Township, Watchung, Westfield, Woodbridge, South River and Spotswood in New Jersey.
Also playing important roles were police from Forks Township, Whitehall Township, South Whitehall Township, Upper Macungie Township, New Castle County, Pocono Township and the Pocono Mountain Regional Police in PA, Haverstraw in Rockland County, NY, Town of Tuxedo in Orange County, NY, and New Castle County in Delaware, Selinger said.
Several federal agencies also participated, the U.S. attorney noted. Among them, he said, were the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of State, the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Dong Joo Lee and Christopher Fell of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Narcotics Unit in Newark are handling the case.
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