NEWARK, N.J. – Eight members of an interstate burglary crew were charged for their roles in a conspiracy that targeted homeowners of Asian descent for residential burglaries, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig for the District of New Jersey announced Tuesday.
Rabine Armour of Easton, Pennsylvania; Kevin Burton of Newark; Kevin Jackson of Rahway, New Jersey; Thomas Rodgers of Newark; James Hurt of Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania; Sherman Glasco of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; Randi Barr of Irvington, New Jersey; and Terrance Black of Irvington, New Jersey, are charged by complaint with conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property. Burton is also charged with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, and conspiring with Keesha Davis, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, to tamper with evidence. The defendants will appear by videoconference today before U.S. Magistrate Judge James B. Clark III.
“As alleged in the complaint, these defendants were part of a sophisticated, multi-state burglary crew that targeted the homes of business owners of Asian descent, intending to steal the cash proceeds of their businesses as well as jewelry, foreign currency, and other property,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Honig. “A comprehensive investigation led by our partners at the FBI and aided by the cooperation of local law enforcement revealed the links among over 50 residential burglaries and thereby uncovered this scheme. As a result of this careful investigative work, the defendants now face federal charges for their actions.”
“These defendants allegedly carried out a brazen conspiracy based on stereotype and opportunity,” said Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. of the FBI. “It is fitting that these arrests come at a time when society is raising awareness regarding crimes against our Asian-American citizens. FBI-Newark appreciates the strong relationship with our law enforcement partners. To that end, I want to thank the South Plainfield Police Department and Middlesex County prosecutors office for initiating the investigation, and the police departments of New Castle County, Delaware, Eatontown, Edison, Hazlet and the Old Bridge for their investigative assistance leading to these burglary interruptions.”
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Law enforcement officials identified eight members of an interstate burglary crew responsible for more than 50 home burglaries. Armour, Burton, and Jackson were arrested in Old Bridge, New Jersey, and Barr was arrested in Hazlet, New Jersey, during burglaries in progress. Searches of Armour’s and Burton’s residences revealed tens of thousands of dollars in U.S. currency and currency from Asian countries, jewelry, family heirlooms, and other valuables that were previously reported stolen by victims. While searching vehicles used in the commission of burglaries, law enforcement recovered notes containing the home addresses of individuals of Asian descent with derogatory descriptive terms to identify the ethnicity of the homeowners.
A subsequent investigation of the contents of communications obtained from Armour and Burton’s cellular telephones, in addition to location data associated with crew members’ phone numbers, led law enforcement to identify other conspirators, including Glasco, Hurt, Black, and Rodgers. In comparing communications, location information, and recovered stolen property with known burglaries matching the methods employed by the burglary crew, law enforcement was able to associate these defendants with numerous residential burglaries of homes owned by individuals of Asian descent.
Law enforcement officials learned that unlawful entry into the homes was often made through unsecured second-floor windows; the victims’ cars were burglarized at their respective places of business in order to ascertain the homeowners’ addresses from the vehicles’ documents; makeshift trackers were placed on victims’ vehicles; the crew looked for indications of occupancy of homes by individuals of Asian descent; and once inside, the crew sought out cash, jewelry, and firearms.
The charge of conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property carries a maximum potential penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the amount of money involved in the offense, whichever is greater.
Acting U.S. Attorney Honig credited FBI Newark’s Transnational Organized Crime Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge George M. Crouch Jr. in Newark, with the investigation leading to the charges. She also thanked the Middlesex County Prosecutors Office, and the South Plainfield, South Whitehall, Eatontown, New York City, Edison, Hazlet, Kenilworth, New Castle County, Pocono Township, Sayreville, Old Bridge and Spotswood police departments for their work on the investigation. Acting U.S. Attorney Honig also thanked the numerous law enforcement agencies in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, and Delaware that assisted with the investigation.
The government is represented by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Keith Travers of the U.S. Attorney’s Office OCDETF/Narcotics Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.