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TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced arrests of four individuals who have been charged in a multi-agency investigation for allegedly conspiring as members of a criminal ring responsible for numerous residential burglaries across much of New Jersey.
The participating law enforcement agencies have worked collaboratively to investigate 84 burglaries that were committed from October 2020 through March 2021 in eight counties in New Jersey—Morris, Bergen, Essex, Somerset, Passaic, Monmouth, Middlesex, and Union—as well as lower New York State. As detailed in the statement of probable cause in the criminal complaints filed against the defendants, the burglaries involved a similar modus operandi and it is suspected that the same burglary ring was involved in each of them. The perpetrators of the burglaries forced entry through a doorway, usually in the afternoon or early evening, and then 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.
The four individuals who were arrested have been charged by the Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau in connection with 16 of those burglaries that occurred in Morris, Bergen, Essex, Somerset, Passaic, and Union Counties. However, the investigation is ongoing and further charges may be filed in connection with the other burglaries. Investigators urge anyone who might have relevant information about the defendants or any of the burglaries to call the Division of Criminal Justice confidentially at 866-TIPS-4CJ.
The final defendant to be arrested, Keith Perry, was arrested on Friday, April 30, in North Carolina by the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force on a warrant obtained by the Division of Criminal Justice. He is being held in Union County (N.C.) Jail pending extradition. The other three defendants were arrested in early April in New Jersey and were ordered detained pending trial.
The following four defendants were charged by complaint-warrant with the offenses listed (one count of each offense unless otherwise indicated):
- Keith Perry, 38, of Teaneck, N.J. 2nd Degree Conspiracy, 2nd Degree Burglary, 3rd Degree Burglary (15 Counts), 2nd Degree Theft, and 2nd Degree Receiving Stolen Property. Perry is charged with 2nd Degree Burglary in connection with a burglary on Dec. 23, 2020 in Englewood, N.J., during which he allegedly threatened a homeowner by making a motion with his hand inside his sweatshirt as though he had a gun and saying, “I’ll shoot you.”
- Porsche Brown, 29, of Lodi, N.J. 2nd Degree Conspiracy, 3rd Degree Burglary (6 Counts), 3rd Degree Theft, and 3rd Degree Receiving Stolen Property.
- Kay Brown, 23, of Paterson, N.J. (no relation to Porsche Brown) 2nd Degree Conspiracy, 3rd Degree Burglary (3 Counts), and 3rd Degree Theft.
- Gregory Lewis, 37, of Teaneck, N.J. 2nd Degree Conspiracy and 3rd Degree Burglary.
After Perry was involved in a car accident in Hackensack, N.J., on March 17, 2021, investigators obtained a search warrant for the Mercedes-Benz GL 450 he was driving and found proceeds from one of the burglaries in the car. On Feb. 12, 2021, Porsche Brown used a pawn shop in Vineland to pawn a significant amount of jewelry that is being investigated as suspected burglary proceeds.
The multi-agency investigation was led by the Division of Criminal Justice, New Jersey State Police, Verona Police Department, New Milford Police Department, and Teaneck Police Department, assisted by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, and the 40 additional municipal police departments listed below.
“This is an outstanding example of law enforcement collaboration,” said Attorney General Grewal. “We worked with law enforcement agencies across nearly half of New Jersey to identify and arrest the alleged members of this burglary ring, who sought cash, jewelry, and other valuables in the targeted residences, including homes that were occupied during the break-ins. With each burglary in a new town, law enforcement forged a new partnership to address this threat and shut down this major crime spree.”
“I commend all of the law enforcement agencies that partnered in this investigation, sharing evidence and working to stop this alleged prolific burglary ring,” said Director Veronica Allende of the Division of Criminal Justice. “The strength of law enforcement in New Jersey is enhanced by our strong collaborative relationships, which enabled us to identify and arrest these defendants.”
“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.”
“As Attorney General Grewal said, this case highlighted the exceptional partnership shared among law enforcement agencies in New Jersey,” said Chief Christopher Kiernan of the Verona Police Department. “I must applaud Verona Detective TJ Conroy and Detective Lieutenant Timothy Banta who stayed with this case from the day of the Verona burglary in early December. They broke many leads that directly resulted in these arrests. Detective Conroy’s tenacious work was a shining example of Verona Police Department’s dedication to our community. He and Lieutenant Banta never let go and put in countless hours researching an enormous number of cases throughout the state, identifying similarities to Verona’s burglary. Much credit also should be given to Cedar Grove Police Officer Dominick Buscio. While on diligent patrol, Officer Buscio heard the transmission of our burglary in progress and located the suspect vehicle traveling through Cedar Grove, thereby securing a critical piece of evidence. These efforts and the teamwork of all of the participating agencies ultimately led to the successful arrests of those responsible for numerous burglaries throughout the state.”
Deputy Attorney General Attorney Matthew Lafargue, Detective Scott Caponi, and Detective Sang Han are assigned to the investigation for the Division of Criminal Justice (DCJ) Specialized Crimes Bureau, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Jacqueline Smith, Deputy Chief of Detectives Robert Stemmer, Bureau Chief Erik Daab, Chief of Detectives Weldon Powell, and DCJ Deputy Director Annmarie Taggart. DCJ Detective Shawn Gorlin, who is a member of the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force, led the fugitive investigation. Attorney General Grewal thanked the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force for their invaluable assistance.
Detective Sgt. Brian Kearns, Investigator Erica Benedetti, and Investigator Jessica Butt participated in the investigation for the New Jersey State Police.
Detective Thomas J Conroy III is 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 is being supervised and conducted by Lt. Kevin VanSanders, Detective Sgt. Nelson Perez, Detective Derek Mattessich, Detective Brian Carlino, and Officer Adam Conboy.
Detective Gabriel Santiago is the lead detective for the Teaneck Detective Bureau.
Attorney General Grewal thanked all of the participating law enforcement agencies for their work in the investigation.
In addition to the law enforcement agencies listed above, the following police departments participated in the collaborative investigation: Bedminster Police Department, Berkeley Heights 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.
Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $150,000, while third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
For Perry: Undetermined.
For Porsche Brown: Kevin G. Roe, Esq., Hackensack, N.J.
For Kay Brown: Richard J. Baldi, Esq., Baldi & Marotta, Paterson, N.J.
For Lewis: Adamo Ferreira, Esq., Hackensack, N.J.