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James Bond Gang Has No Tie to Recent Burglaries, Officials Say

Area police chiefs to meet Monday to discuss recent burglary surge in the region.

The police chiefs in the areas hit by burglars over the last few months are meeting Monday to share enforcement ideas and coordinate with members of the prosecutor's office on a solution, police said.

"Hopefully we will have good news to share after that," Mendham Borough Police Chief Pat Libertino said.

There have been reports of burglaries in Randolph, Morris Township, Chatham and the Somerset Hills area, police said. Bernardsville Police Chief Kevin Valentine sent a letter to residents on Thursday regarding the recent spree.

Libertino told residents to lock their doors and set their alarms, as some homes were being hit (one across the street from the Mendham Borough Police station) while the residents were out running errands. 

And although Libertino said the recent string of burglaries were the work of a gang or multiple gangs, there has been no evidence to tie the thefts to the theatrically named "James Bond Gang," which plagued residents three decades ago. According to officials, that gang operated in the 1980s and were known to drive expensive foreign cars that were modified with rotating license plates.

This week, Mendham Township Police Chief Steve Crawford asked for residents' help in stopping the burglaries. Crawford doesn't think the speculative ties to the James Bond Gang are helping catch the current gang. 

"All that does is sensationalize and glorify what they did," Crawford said.

According to Crawford, more progress has been made in the past week, but these thieves are using modern technology to try to stay a step ahead.

"These guys are using everything. Cell phones, the Internet to look things up," Crawford said.

The Mendham Township Police are keeping an updated map of the burglaries in their headquarters and are urging residents to report suspicious activity.

"We sent out a reverse 911 message to residents, we sent out an email, a letter and posted the information on the township's website," Mendham Township Lt. Vito Abrusci said. "We aren't trying to panic people, but we want them to call us and report suspicious vehicles or activity."

Last Friday, erroneous reports of a burglary created a stir in Far Hills, but Abrusci said he would rather have Mendham residents play it safe.

"We're staffing for it, we are prepared for it and we have seen an increase in calls reporting vehicles," Abrusci said. "And we are are glad they are coming in."

Crawford agreed that he wants his residents to call and hopes that their aggressive stance on enforcement helps to serve a deterrent.

"Mendham Township may not have been hit as hard because they know we're out there," Crawford said. "And we're going to keep it that way."

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