NEW JERSEY (WPIX)—It takes them just two minutes to pull up to high-priced homes, cut the wires to the alarm system or just rip it off the wall, take cash, jewelry, or even remove the safe. That's why cops in North Jersey and Rockland County New York are stepping up efforts to stop the James Bond Gang before they strike again.
A group of burglars called the James Bond Gang were active in the 1980s and 1990s in North Jersey, and police were able to shut them down. It now seems that a new generation of crooks is imitating the orginal, and they have been very successful, carrying out about 40 burglaries or break-ins in the last six months in the North Jersey towns of River Edge, Cresskill, Franklin Lakes, Englewood, Mahwah, Basking Ridge, Bridgewater and Teaneck, as well as in Orangetown, in Rockland County, New York.
Detectives say that the new generation is potentially sophisticated, as well as successful. They've hauled more than $1 million from their break-ins, and in one case alone, they took about $75,000 in goods and cash. After each hit, they pull out, in not just any car.
"They're using high end cars that have been rigged to try and avoid police," Deputy Chief Lawrence Suffern of Tenafly Police told PIX 11 News.
Some of the cars may have secret compartments. The first generation James Bond Gang had at least one car with a license plate that could flip up to reveal an intense light that could blind pursuing police. They even had devices that could squirt out oil and create a slick behind them. The concern is that the new generation may try to become that sophisticated.
It's got residents like Jane Van Alstyne Jones nervous. "I was shocked," the Tenafly resident said about a break-in a few doors away from her home. "I've been here all my life. We always go out without locking the door. I never thought anything about it, until now." Now, her doors are locked, and her alarm system stays on.
The threat of her home being next is what has detectives and prosecutors taking action. "A task force has been put together by the prosecutor and the towns that have seen similar types of burglaries," Detective Wayne Hall told PIX 11 News.
Detectives have arrested three men in relation to James Bond Gang robberies: Jerry Montgomery, Daniel Gatson, and Diandre Mikell, but they suspect that the trio was working with many other accomplices.
Police are urging residents to call them if they see anything suspicious, and they advise people to not keep valuables at home. Detectives recommend instead that residents store infrequently used valuables in safety deposit boxes at banks.