By: Richard L. Smith
Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin today announced a 14-year prison sentence for a Bergen County man who acted as the leader of a criminal ring responsible for numerous residential burglaries across much of New Jersey.
Officials say Superior Court Judge Noah Franzblau sentenced Keith Perry, 39, of Teaneck in Morris County on March 10. Perry pleaded guilty to first-degree promoting organized street crime in a hearing before Judge Franzblau on Nov. 14, 2022.
Police arrested Perry in April 2021 in a far-reaching investigation in which numerous law enforcement agencies collaborated to investigate 84 burglaries committed from October 2020 through March 2021 in nine counties in New Jersey — Morris, Bergen, Essex, Somerset, Hunterdon, Union, Passaic, Monmouth, and Middlesex — as well as lower New York State.
In separate hearings before Judge Franzblau on March 10, two ring members who were charged with Perry in April — Porsche Brown, 31, of Lodi, N.J., and Kay Brown, 24, of Paterson, N.J. (no relation to each other) — were sentenced to non-custodial probation. Both women pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary on July 13, 2021.
As detailed in the statement of probable cause in the criminal complaints filed in April, the burglaries involved a similar modus operandi, and it is suspected that the same burglary ring was involved in each.
Police said the perpetrators forced entry through a doorway, usually in the afternoon or early evening, and stole cash, jewelry, and other valuables from the master bedroom and other areas of the residence. Well over half a million dollars in cash, jewelry, and other valuables were stolen in total in the 84 burglaries.
Perry was explicitly charged in connection with 17 burglaries that occurred in Morris, Bergen, Essex, Somerset, Hunterdon, and Union Counties.
It is alleged that during a burglary in Englewood on Dec. 23, 2020, the homeowner confronted Perry, who made a motion inside his sweatshirt as though he had a gun and said, “I’ll shoot you.”
The multi-agency investigation was led by the Division of Criminal Justice, New Jersey State Police, Verona Police Department, New Milford Police Department, Teaneck Police Department, and Berkeley Heights Police Department, assisted by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, and the 40 additional municipal police departments.
“Thanks to the collaboration of dozens of law enforcement agencies working across multiple jurisdictions, we successfully identified and dismantled a prolific burglary ring targeting homes throughout New Jersey and brought its ringleader to justice,” said Attorney General Platkin.
“This case is an excellent example of how law enforcement agencies throughout the state are working together to keep New Jerseyans safe in their homes.”
“This defendant was the architect of a brazen and dangerous burglary ring that forced entry into homes seeking cash, jewelry, and other valuables, regardless of whether the homes were occupied,” said Director Minato of the Division of Criminal Justice.
“The lengthy prison term handed down to him today reflects the gravity of his crimes and sends a clear message that New Jersey’s strong law enforcement network is working diligently to identify and prosecute criminals who threaten the safety of our residents.”
“Every agency involved with this investigation understood that it was paramount that we identify and apprehend the members of this ring because their willingness to commit these crimes while homeowners were present demonstrated that they were prepared to engage in confrontation, which could easily have escalated into violence,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.
“This investigation is an example of how the New Jersey law enforcement community can quickly band together and coordinate across multiple jurisdictions to dismantle a dangerous burglary ring.”
“The cooperation and collaboration amongst the agencies was exceptional,” said Chief Christopher Kiernan of the Verona Police Department. “I want to acknowledge Verona Detective Thomas Conroy and Lieutenant Timothy Banta for their tireless and dogged work on this investigation.
A lot of credit must also be given to Officer Dominick Buscio from the Cedar Grove Police Department, who was integral in identifying the suspects minutes after the Verona burglary.”
Perry was arrested on April 30, 2021, in North Carolina by the U.S. Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force on a warrant obtained by the Division of Criminal Justice.
He was extradited to New Jersey and detained in the Morris County Correctional Facility pending the adjudication of the charges against him.