NEWARK, NJ – Two Newark men were charged with their roles in a break-in attempt targeted at homeowners of Asian descent, 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:
- 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 being a felon in possession of a firearm and conspiring with Elizabeth’s Keesha Davis to manipulate evidence, authorities said.
According to the authorities, the defendants belonged to a “sophisticated, multi-state burglary team” that targeted the homes of business owners of Asian descent. 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, found the links between over 50 residential intrusions and uncovered this system,” Honey said. “As a result of this careful investigation, the defendants are now being charged federal charges for their actions.”
After police officers identified the crew members responsible for more than 50 break-ins at home, Armor, Burton and Jackson were arrested at Old Bridge, and Barr was arrested in Hazlet during ongoing break-ins, authorities said.
Searches of Armor and Burton’s homes revealed tens of thousands of dollars in US and Asian currency, jewelry, family heirlooms and other valuables previously reported by victims as stolen, according to authorities.
When searching vehicles used to inspect break-ins, law enforcement officials said they found notes containing the home addresses of people of Asian descent with derogatory descriptive terms to identify the homeowners’ ethnicity.
A subsequent examination of communications received from Armor and Burton’s cell phones, as well as location data linked to crew members’ phone numbers, led law enforcement to identify other conspirators, including Glasco, Hurt, Black and Rodgers, authorities said.
The officers then learned that illegal entry into the houses was often 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 opportunities,” said Special Agent George Crouch Jr. in charge 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.