NEWARK, NJ – Two Newark men were charged with their roles in a break-in attempt against homeowners of Asian origin, authorities said.
Kevin Burton and Thomas Rodgers, both from Newark, were part of an eight-person interstate crew in connection with the crime, acting U.S. attorney Rachael Honig said.
Other crew members were the following suspects:
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- Rabine Armor from Easton, PA.
- Kevin Jackson from Rahway.
- James Hurt from Tobyhanna, Pa.
- Sherman Glasco of Bethlehem, PA.
- Randi Barr from Irvington.
- Terrance Black from Irvington.
The suspects were charged with conspiracy to interstate the transportation of stolen property. Burton is also charged with a criminal in possession of a firearm and conspiring with Elizabeth’s Keesha Davis to manipulate evidence, authorities said.
The defendants were part of a so-called “sophisticated, one-state burglar crew” which, according to the authorities, targeted the homes of business owners of Asian origin. The intent of their plan was to steal the cash proceeds from their stores as well as jewelry, foreign currency and other property, authorities said.
“A full investigation, conducted by our partners at the FBI and backed by collaboration with local law enforcement agencies, uncovered the links between over 50 residential intrusions,” Honey said. “As a result of this careful investigation, the defendants have now been charged by the federal government for their actions.”
After police officers identified the crew members responsible for more than 50 break-ins at the home, Armor, Burton and Jackson were arrested at Old Bridge, and Barr was arrested in Hazlet while burglaries were ongoing, authorities said.
Searches of Armor and Burton’s homes revealed tens of thousands of dollars in US and Asian currencies, jewelry, family heirlooms and other valuables previously reported by victims as stolen, according to authorities.
When searching for vehicles used in break-ins, law enforcement officials said they recovered notes with the home addresses of people of Asian origin using derogatory descriptive terms to help identify the homeowners’ ethnicity.
A subsequent investigation into communications from Armor and Burton’s cell phones, as well as location data associated with crew members’ phone numbers, led law enforcement to identify other conspirators, including Glasco, Hurt, Black and Rodgers.
The officers then learned that the houses were often illegally entered through unsecured windows on the second floor. The victims ‘cars were broken into at their respective business locations in order to determine the homeowners’ addresses from vehicle documents. and makeshift trackers were placed on victims’ vehicles.
The crew looked for evidence of the occupancy of houses by people of Asian origin, and when inside, the crew searched for cash, jewelry and firearms, authorities said.
“These defendants allegedly carried out a brazen conspiracy based on stereotypes and possibility,” said the special agent in charge, George Crouch Jr sharpens our Asian-American citizens. FBI-Newark values the close relationship we have with our law enforcement partners. “
The charge of conspiracy to conduct the interstate transportation of stolen property carries a potential maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of $ 250,000 or double the amount of money associated with the offense, whichever is greater.