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'James Bond Gang' Leader, Members Nabbed in Sparta

Task force tip leads to the arrest of three Bergen county men who allegedly burglarized high-end homes throughout the tri-state area for years.

Three members of a Bergen County burglary ring known as the “James Bond Gang” were arrested after they broke into and ransacked a local residence on Feb. 13, Sparta Township Police Sgt. John-Paul Beebe said. The alleged gang is believed to be responsible for dozens of burglaries of high-end homes in Morris and Somerset counties, as well as other parts of the tri-state area.

Arrested at the scene were 30-year-old Englewood resident Leevan Lawrence, 29-year-old Courry Rice, of Hackensack, and the alleged leader of the “James Bond Gang,” 31-year-old Teaneck resident Jerry Montgomery, Beebe said. Beebe said all three arrested individuals were transported to the Sparta Police Department where they were charged with burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary and theft of movable property. Beebe said Montgomery was also charged with resisting arrest.

According to Beebe, the gang's criminal enterprise has been targeting high-end homes in affluent neighborhoods and their brazen acts include breaking down the front doors of homes and tearing alarm systems off of the wall so they could steal, jewelry, cash and anything of value that can be placed in a pillow case.

Beebe said as the burglaries increased across the region, local law enforcement agencies banded together, sharing updated accurate intelligence along with man-power to help bring down the gang.

According to Beebe, the Bergen County Multi-Jurisdictional Task Force, headed by Lt. Christopher Stefanacci of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office contacted Sparta Township Police Detective Terrence Mulligan and warned him the gang was preparing to target homes on the west side of Sparta. Beebe said the task force informed Mulligan a 2012 Chrysler mini-van bearing Michigan license plates was already en route, and Sparta patrols were deployed in and around certain west side neighborhoods.

According to Beebe, at 7:40 p.m., Officer Joseph Pensado and Det. Keith Hannam tracked fresh footprints in the snow going up to the front door of a home located on Greenfield Hill and found that the front door had been forced opened and several rooms had been ransacked. Beebe said Sgt. Jeffrey Mase found and followed the mini-van, calling in back up for a high risk. After boxing the van in, the three occupants were removed from the van at gunpoint, Beebe said.

According to Beebe, a tan-colored pillow case containing assorted pieces of jewelry that were later determined to be proceeds from the burglary at Greenfield Hill had been tossed into the woods by the alleged gang members. The pillow case was recovered by members of the task force as they canvassed the area.

All three are being held at the Sussex County Jail with bail for Lawrence at $100,000 with no 10 percent option and Rice at $200,000 with no 10 percent option. Beebe said Montgomery, who was currently free on $100,000 bail following his arrest in August of 2011 by Sparta Police after he allegedly committed burglaries in both Jefferson and Sparta, had his current bail revoked and new bail of $500,000 with no 10 percent option has been set.

Members of the task force also on scene included police officers and detectives from the following agencies: Englewood Cliffs, River Edge, Ramsey, Mahwah, Paramus, Harrison, NY, Englewood, Teaneck and the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office, Beebe said. Detectives from the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office and officers from the Sussex County Sheriff’s Department assisted at the scene and throughout the night as the scene was processed, Beebe said.

Despite this arrest and the current efforts of local law enforcement, the criminal enterprise , Beebe said. Beebe said citizens should remain vigilant and report suspicious behavior by dialing 9-1-1.

Observer February 15, 2013 at 10:49 PM
Good news for a change! Hopatcong would never be the target for a high-end burglary gang. The neighborhood drug addicts, well that’s another story. Lock your homes and your vehicles!
Phil Pine February 16, 2013 at 01:01 AM
You are correct in your assesment as well John. I've always heard that Sparta was "very affluent..." Why? Because of the 40 or 50 McMansions that are in it that are occupied by the over leveraged worried if their septic tanks are gonna' overflow? Ridiculous....The surronding towns are equally as nice yet you never hear anything of them. Just an observation I've noticed over the years. I'm glad they caught the guys BTW.
Jarhead February 16, 2013 at 05:51 PM
I have had the opportunity to live all over this great country and I can say that there is crime everywhere. So yes make sure you lock up the things you own. I have lived in the area for about a year and Hopatcong is a good place to live. People complain like the crime rate here compares to Dover or Newton. Maybe people need to get out more and see the world. Crime, drugs, and guns are the way it is now. Unless criminals face harder penalties that trend is never going to change.
Young Stingy February 19, 2013 at 10:28 PM
Yes, but you don't know for sure.
Young Stingy February 19, 2013 at 10:29 PM
The po don't want to go near someone with a gun, they would much rather prefer to hand out unnecessary vehicle violations, much safer for their well-being.

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