A high-profile thief who authorities say has been the leader of a crime ring behind numerous residential burglaries throughout the tri-state area has been arrested and is set to stand trial in July, thanks to a long-term high-tech investigation, and a cell phone selfie, NorthJersey.com reported.
According to the in-depth report, crime ringleader Daniel “Tokyo” Gatson, who has lived in Tenafly, Cliffside Park, and North Bergen, and several others were arrested last October after a 10-and-a-half month crime spree in which they allegedly stole cash and property worth about $2.84 million from more than 30 residential break-ins.
The Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office has been investigating the crime ring since November of 2012, when Gatson was released from prison on previous charges and the spree of burglaries began, the report said.
A major break in the case came after a cell phone was found in a Cliffside Park home after it had been burglarized, and $16,000 worth of jewelry stolen from it, the report said.
Cops found a “selfie” photo on the phone of Curtis Dent, Jr., of Roselle, who police say is a getaway driver and lookout for Gatson’s burglary crew, the report said. The phone allowed investigators to track Dent’s moves, and those of his cell phone contacts, namely Gatson, the report said.
Crafting a “high-tech roadmap,” using the phone, cops were able to connect Gatson to the burglaries, and to the diamond district in NYC, where he is believed to have sold stolen jewelry after each job, the report said.
According to NorthJersey.com, Investigators have linked the gang to burglaries in Westchester County, N.Y., Upper Saddle River, Alpine, Old Tappan, and to one attempted burglary in Mahwah that helped crack the case. When neighbors reported seeing men wearing masks and gloves circling a township home last year, Mahwah Police captured a photo of a license plate of a getaway car one of Gatson’s girlfriends had rented, the report said.
Investigators combined evidence from that and other break-ins with several confessions from Gatson’s affiliates to wire tap six phones of those believed to be key players in the crime ring, the report said.
Gatson was arrested on Long Island the day after a job that netted the gang $70,000 worth of jewelry, the report said. NorthJersey.com compared his crime ring to that of the James Bond Gang, known for numerous burglaries in northern NJ during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Prosecutors have called Gatson “one of Bergen County’s most prolific burglars,” the report said.