SPARTA -- Three members of a Bergen County burglary ring known as the “James Bond Gang” were arrested after they broke into and ransacked a Sparta residence Wednesday, Township Police Sgt. John-Paul Beebe said. The alleged gang is believed to be responsible for dozens of burglaries of high-end homes in Morris and Somerset counties, as well as other parts of the tri-state area.
Arrested at the scene were 30-year-old Englewood resident Leevan Lawrence, 29-year-old Courry Rice of Hackensack and the alleged leader of the “James Bond Gang” , Beebe said. Beebe said all three arrested individuals were transported to the Sparta Police Department where they were charged with burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary and theft of movable property. Beebe said Montgomery was also charged with resisting arrest.
According to Beebe, the gang's criminal enterprise has been targeting high-end homes in affluent neighborhoods across the tri-state area for years and their brazen acts include breaking down the front doors of homes and tearing alarm systems off of the wall so they could steal, jewelry, cash and anything of value that can be placed in a pillow case.
Beebe said as the burglaries increased across the region, local law enforcement agencies banded together, sharing updated accurate intelligence along with man-power to help bring down the gang.
According to Beebe, the Bergen County Multi-Jurisdictional Task Force, headed by Lt. Christopher Stefanacci of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office contacted Sparta Township Police Detective Terrence Mulligan and warned him the gang was preparing to target homes on the west side of Sparta. Beebe said the Task Force informed Mulligan a 2012 Chrysler mini-van bearing Michigan license plates was already en route, and Sparta patrols were deployed in and around certain west side neighborhoods.
According to Beebe, at 7:40 p.m., Officer Joseph Pensado and Det. Keith Hannam tracked fresh footprints in the snow going up to the front door of a home located on Greenfield Hill and found that the front door had been forced opened and several rooms had been ransacked.
Beebe said Sgt. Jeffrey Mase found and followed the mini-van, calling in back up for a high risk. After boxing the van in, the three occupants were removed from the van at gunpoint, Beebe said.
According to Beebe, a tan-colored pillow case containing assorted pieces of jewelry that were later determined to be proceeds from the burglary at Greenfield Hill had been tossed into the woods by the alleged gang members. The pillow case was recovered by members of the task force as they canvassed the area.
All three are being held at the Sussex County Jail with bail for Lawrence at $100,000 with no 10 percent option and Rice at $200,000 with no 10 percent option. Beebe said Montgomery, who was free on $100,000 bail following his arrest in Aug. of 2011 by Sparta Police after he committed burglaries in both Jefferson and Sparta, had his current bail revoked and new bail of $500,000 with no 10 percent option set.
Members of the task force also on scene included police officers and detectives from the following agencies; Englewood Cliffs, River Edge, Ramsey, Mahwah, Paramus, Harrison NY, Englewood, Teaneck Police Departments and the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, Beebe said.
Detectives from the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office and officers from the Sussex County Sheriff’s Department assisted at the scene and throughout the night as the scene was processed, Beebe said.
Despite this arrest and the current efforts of local law enforcement, the criminal enterprise , Beebe said. Beebe said citizens should remain vigilant and report suspicious behavior by dialing 9-1-1.