Over 40 Law Enforcement Agencies Collaborated in the Investigation that Led to Sentencing
For Immediate Release: March 14, 2023
Office of the Attorney General
– Matthew J. Platkin, Attorney General
Division of Criminal Justice
– Pearl Minato, Director
TRENTON – Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin today announced a 14-year prison sentence for a Bergen County man who acted as the leader of a criminal ring responsible for numerous residential burglaries across much of New Jersey.
Keith Perry, 39, of Teaneck, NJ was sentenced in a hearing before Superior Court Judge Noah Franzblau in Morris County on March 10. Perry pleaded guilty to first-degree promoting organized street crime in a hearing before Judge Franzblau on Nov. 14, 2022.
Perry was arrested in April 2021 in a far-reaching investigation in which numerous law enforcement agencies collaborated to investigate 84 burglaries committed from October 2020 through March 2021 in nine counties in New Jersey—Morris, Bergen, Essex, Somerset, Hunterdon, Union, Passaic, Monmouth, and Middlesex—as well as lower New York State.
In separate hearings before Judge Franzblau on March 10, two ring members who were charged with Perry in April — Porsche Brown, 31, of Lodi, N.J., and Kay Brown, 24, of Paterson, N.J. (no relation to each other) — were sentenced to non-custodial probation. Both women pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary on July 13, 2021.
As detailed in the statement of probable cause in the criminal complaints filed in April, the burglaries involved a similar modus operandi and it is suspected that the same burglary ring was involved in each. The perpetrators forced entry through a doorway, usually in the afternoon or early evening, and stole cash, jewelry, and other valuables from the master bedroom and/or other areas of the residence. Well over half a million dollars in cash, jewelry, and other valuables were stolen in total in the 84 burglaries.
Perry was charged specifically in connection with 17 burglaries that occurred in Morris, Bergen, Essex, Somerset, Hunterdon, and Union Counties. It is alleged that during a burglary in Englewood on Dec. 23, 2020, the homeowner confronted Perry, who made a motion inside his sweatshirt as though he had a gun and said, “I’ll shoot you.”
The multi-agency investigation was led by the Division of Criminal Justice, New Jersey State Police, Verona Police Department, New Milford Police Department, Teaneck Police Department, and Berkeley Heights Police Department, assisted by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, and the 40 additional municipal police departments listed below.
“Thanks to the collaboration of dozens of law enforcement agencies working across multiple jurisdictions, we successfully identified and dismantled a prolific burglary ring targeting homes throughout New Jersey and brought its ringleader to justice,” said Attorney General Platkin. “This case is an excellent example of how law enforcement agencies throughout the state are working together to keep New Jerseyans safe in their homes.”
“This defendant was the architect of a brazen and dangerous burglary ring that forced entry into homes seeking cash, jewelry and other valuables, regardless of whether the homes were occupied,” said Director Minato of the Division of Criminal Justice. “The lengthy prison term handed down to him today reflects the gravity of his crimes and sends a clear message that New Jersey’s strong law enforcement network is working diligently to identify and prosecute criminals who threaten the safety of our residents.”
“Every agency involved with this investigation understood that it was paramount that we identify and apprehend the members of this ring, because their willingness to commit these crimes while homeowners were present demonstrated that they were prepared to engage in confrontation, which could easily have escalated into violence,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “This investigation is an example of how the New Jersey law enforcement community can quickly band together and coordinate across multiple jurisdictions to dismantle a dangerous burglary ring.”
“The cooperation and collaboration amongst the agencies was exceptional.” said Chief Christopher Kiernan of the Verona Police Department. “I want to acknowledge Verona Detective Thomas Conroy and Detective Lieutenant Timothy Banta for their tireless and dogged work on this investigation. A lot of credit must also be given to Officer Dominick Buscio from the Cedar Grove Police Department who was integral in identifying the suspects minutes after the Verona burglary.”
Perry was arrested on April 30, 2021 in North Carolina by the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force on a warrant obtained by the Division of Criminal Justice. He was extradited to New Jersey and detained in the Morris County Correctional Facility pending the adjudication of the charges against him.
Deputy Attorney General Matthew Lafargue was lead prosecutor on the case, with assistance from Deputy Attorneys General Gezim Bajrami and Danielle Scarduzio, for the Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) Specialized Crimes Bureau, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Jacqueline Smith. Detectives Scott Caponi and Sang Han investigated for the Division of Criminal Justice, under the supervision of Deputy Chief of Detectives Robert Stemmer and Chief of Detectives Weldon Powell. DCJ Detective Shawn Gorlin, who is a member of the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force, led the fugitive investigation.
Detective Sgt. Brian Kearns, Investigator Erica Benedetti, and Investigator Jessica Butt investigated for the New Jersey State Police.
Detective Thomas J. Conroy III was lead detective on the case for the Verona Police Department, under the supervision of Lt. Tim Banta.
The investigation by the New Milford Police Department Detective Bureau was supervised and conducted by Lt. Kevin VanSanders, Detective Sgt. Nelson Perez, Detective Derek Mattessich, Detective Brian Carlino, and Officer Adam Conboy.
Detective Gabriel Santiago was lead detective for the Teaneck Detective Bureau.
The investigation by the Berkeley Heights Police Department was led by Lieutenant Frank Mea.
Attorney General Platkin thanks the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force and all of the participating law enforcement agencies for their invaluable assistance.
In addition to the law enforcement agencies listed above, the following police departments participated in the collaborative investigation: Bedminster Police Department, Bernardsville Police Department, Boonton Police Department, Bridgewater Police Department, Cedar Grove Police Department, Clarkstown (N.Y.) Police Department, Clinton Township Police Department, Englewood Police Department, Fairview Police Department, Glen Rock Police Department, Hackensack Police Department, Haledon Police Department, Harrington Park Police Department, Holmdel Police Department, Little Falls Police Department, Livingston Police Department, Madison Police Department, Manalapan Police Department, Marlboro Police Department, Milburn Police Department, Monroe Police Department, Montclair Police Department, Montville Police Department, North Caldwell Police Department, North Haledon Police Department, Northvale Police Department, Paramus Police Department, Parsippany-Troy Hills Police Department, Pearl River (N.Y.) Police Department, Randolph Police Department, Tenafly Police Department, Totowa Police Department, Warren Township Police Department, Washington Township Police Department (Bergen County), Watchung Police Department, Wayne Police Department, West Orange Police Department, Woodcliff Lake Police Department, and Wyckoff Police Department.
Defense Attorney: Dennis Hickerson-Breedon, Esq.