Mendham Borough Police Chief Pat Libertino is trying to be as proactive as possible when it comes to warning residents about the growing trend of daytime burglaries that seem to be happening almost daily in and around Morris County.
Libertino encountered unlocked doors in Mendham residences while looking for the perpetrators and urged residents to make sure their doors and windows were locked even if they were only stepping out for a moment.
Libertino is walking the line of informing the public while not interfering with an ongoing investigation, but insists that there are steps being taken.
"We are working on things and coming up with ideas," Libertino said.
The burglaries were initially linked to the James Bond Gang. However, officials now say that is incorrect. The current set of thieves break into homes and are in and out with cash and jewelry in less than five minutes. Since the jewelry can be dismantled and melted down, the entire haul is untraceable in less than a day, police said.
Officials are trying to get a handle on the scope of crime spree as a report from NJ.com says the group may even be ranging into Somerset County.
Regardless of how far they are ranging, Libertino does attribute the local crimes to a gang.
"It might not be the James Bond Gang," Libertino said. "But it is definitely a gang."
The sensationally named 30-year-old group of thieves picked up their moniker in part from a vehicle that allegedly had a rotating license plate, police said.
Police are not ready to release details of the crimes due to the ongoing status of the investigation, but estimate nearly two dozen homes have been hit in Mendham, Chester, Harding, Morris Township and Bernardsville.
To combat this new threat, Libertino said he is working with coordinating all relevant chiefs in the area as well as representatives from the prosecutor's office.
This story is developing and Patch will have more as it becomes available.