Three township men were arrested Thursday after burglarizing a Somerset County home and investigators believe the trio is responsible for a series of break-ins around North Jersey, prosecutors said.
Working off information developed by Teaneck detectives, authorities learned that the group was responsible for a burglary spree targeting high-end houses around Bergen County, according to a statement released Friday by the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office.
A task force of investigators from Bergen and Rockland Counties followed the three as they cased homes to burglarize in Somerset County, the statement said. While being followed, the men forced open the door of a house in Bridgewater, authorities said.
They ransacked the house, fleeing with a large safe, cash and a pillowcase filled with coins and jewelry, according to the prosecutor’s office. Local police confirmed the unoccupied home had been burglarized before investigators moved in to arrest the three in a car stop on Route 22 in Green Brook, authorities said.
A search of the car turned up the items taken from Bridgewater and ski masks, gloves, walkie-talkies and burglary tools, according to the prosecutor’s office. The men had first tried to break-in to a house in Basking Ridge, but fled after being confronted by the homeowner, the prosecutor's office said.
Diandre Mikell, 24, of Suffern Road, Jason Mikell, 40, of Fairview Avenue and Jerry Montgomery, 30, also of Fairview Avenue were all charged with burglary, theft, conspiracy to commit burglary, possession of burglary tools, criminal mischief and resisting arrest in connection with the Bridgewater crime, the prosecutor’s office said.
While the men have not been charged with other crimes, the case bears similarities to burglaries in and around Mahwah. In both the Bridgewater and Mahwah break-ins, police said the crew dismantled the alarm and cut the phone lines before forcing their way inside.
Mahwah Police Chief Jim Batelli told Patch in March . Batelli said Friday a Mahwah detective had served on the task force.
"At this point we do not have sufficient evidence to definitively link them to our burglaries, but their M.O. is strikingly similar to what occurred in Mahwah and warrants due diligence on our part," Batelli said.
The cooperation of multiple law enforcement agencies played a "critical role" in the arrests, the chief said.
In early April, police in Orangetown, Rockland County, . Although he was not charged with any break-ins there, police said at the time they were looking into possible connections to other area burglaries.
Jason Mikell and Montgomery both have past arrests, according to Bergen County Jail records. Montgomery was also convicted of robbery and burglary in connection with a 2002 home invasion in Upper Saddle River, court and jail records show.
The three were being held Friday at the Somerset County Jail on $75,000 bail, with a 10-percent option, the prosecutor’s office said.
Jessica Mazzola contributed to this report