EXCLUSIVE: The last purported leader of what was once the infamous James Bond Gang of burglars was sentenced today to an agreed-upon four years in prison without parole in exchange for admitting his role in the theft of a safe from a Connecticut home that police found crew members trying to crack open in an Englewood garage.
That’s not all, however, for Akeem “Light” Boone: The Hackensack ex-con still faces charges in at least two other cases – one in Bergen County and the other in Sussex – that could keep him behind bars much longer.
One of his co-defendants, Jamie Singletary, also took a plea and was sentenced separately in Superior Court in Hackensack today to 364 days in the Bergen County Jail.
Boone ( photos above, below ) remained quiet during his sentencing hearing.
Singletary, however, continued what’s been a pattern of complaining about his treatment.
“From the start of this case I was treated unfairly,” Singletary told the judge. “People who commit home invasions have $150,000 bail and I had to post much more. I’ve been under house arrest for ten months and have to check in daily.”
His attorney, Vincent Basile, said wearing a bracelet had been “like wearing a scarlet letter” and had prevented Singletary from getting a job and supporting his family.
However, Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor David Calviello noted that Singletary “is the only member of the gang who has been home during the trial, and he is the only one who will be going home in a few months, whereas all the others [four] are going to state prison.”
Calviello said Singletary was “intimately involved among others in a well coordinated effort to steal a safe from Connecticut” and was on probation when the crime was committed.
He also noted that Singletary has “been in trouble for burglaries since he was a juvenile” and has prior convictions.
“Frankly, leniency is the characterization of this plea,” Calviello said.
Superior Court Judge Patrick J. Roma agreed.
“I sat through the trial and this plea, if anything, is lenient,” the judge said.
Robert Hastu, a third defendant who let the gang use his garage for $20, was admitted into a Pre-Trial Intervention program under which his record will be cleared if he stays out of trouble.
As part of the plea deal, Boone agreed not to testify on behalf of the three other defendants — Marc Rainey, Renando Sheffield, and Jerelle Bordeaux — who were all convicted three weeks ago of their roles in the theft.
Members of a multi-jurisdictional task force that stretched from Morris County to Connecticut had been tailing Boone and his gang — first to Greenwich, CT, where the burglary was committed, and then back to Englewood’s 4th Ward –the night of Oct. 25, 2012.
As they watched, the crew members pulled in behind a row of multi-family homes on William Street near the King Gardens apartment complex and began “pounding, prying and pulling on this safe trying to get it open,” Englewood Detective Lt. Tim Torell told CLIFFVIEW PILOT at the time.
After summoning uniformed officers from Englewood and Teaneck, the task force burst in.
Police had been searching for Boone at the time of the safe theft. A month earlier, they found 20 grams of crack cocaine and a loaded handgun reported stolen during the burglary of a North Carolina sporting goods store in his Hackensack apartment.
Boone was barely out of state prison two years when he was arrested in 2011 along with his brother, Aasim (“Sean”) Boone, and former pro basketball bust Sean Banks of Englewood, following a high-speed chase that ended when their SUV flipped.
Authorities said the quartet had $20,000 in jewelry and other booty with them from burglarized homes in Sparta and Jefferson Township.
That case is still pending.
The busts are just two of many for Boone, who, at 28, has a lengthy rap sheet, including convictions for weapons possession and drug dealing that sent him to prison for two years from 2007-2009.
Boone’s right arm was damaged several years ago when he was shot in Washington Heights. He was nearly hit again in March 2003 when a gunman came up to a car he was sitting in at the Rock Creek Terrace apartments in Englewood and began shooting.
The driver survived bullets in the head and neck, while Boone – who wasn’t struck — was arrested for carrying crack.
Authorities have associated Boone, his brother and the other defendants with the Bond Gang, founded nearly 25 years ago by a quartet of burglars who hit luxury homes in New Jersey, New York and along the East Coast.
However, law enforcement sources with direct knowledge of their behavior said the group is looser-knit, among other major differences: There’s no tricked-out BMW with a secret drawer housed on the dashboard’s passenger side just beneath where the airbag would be. There’s no cluster of halogens that emerge from behind a hinged license plate. There’s no grease jet positioned next to the tailpipe.
More importantly, no one person has been directing operations.
“They commit JBG-style burglaries,” a law enforcement source familiar with both crews told CLIFFVIEW PILOT , “but they don’t consider themselves JBG members.
“They must read some of these stories and say, ‘These guys don’t know what they’re talking about’.”
Boone was sent to state prison in 2007 after he and his brother led their own gang, using kids as young as 13 to peddle drugs and selling semi-automatic weapons and illegal ammunition. Operating from the Parkview Terrace apartments in Englewood, the Boones stretched their business into Bergenfield, Tenafly and elsewhere.
During the arrests, Akeem Boone fought with members of the Bergen County Narcotics Task Force. Another man, Demetrius Wynn, was found with a handgun, leading to a search of his nearby apartment, Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said. There, he said, detectives found a pair of loaded assault weapons, one of which was reported stolen during the May 1999 burglary of the North Carolina sporting goods shop.
Molinelli said detectives found crack cocaine and a defaced .380-caliber semiautomatic handgun in a safe at the Boones’ apartment, as well as a 9mm handgun at another address.
So he already was facing charges in two counties when Englewood police obtained an arrest warrant in a massive anti-crime sweep that began last September.
Aasim Boone is still being held on $250,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail following a burglary arrest last November in Old Tappan, where police called in officers from Harrington Park, River Vale, Westwood and the Bergen County Police K-9 Unit, who found him trying to hop a cab.
The Sussex incident alone could put him back behind bars for up to 15 years.
Sparta police said they pulled over the black 2003 Chevy Trail Blazer, but Aasim Boone hit the gas and sped off, blowing through two red lights and hitting 90 mph at one point, before the truck hit a curb and rolled about a mile away. All four occupants were trapped inside.
They included Jerry Montgomery, was out on bail at the time for a Basking Ridge break-in, and Banks, a 2003 Bergen Catholic standout who starred at the University of Memphis before fizzling out with the Hornets, who were then based in New Orleans (now in Charlotte).
Just four months earlier, Orangetown police busted the Boones for having burglary tools in their car after they were stopped while cruising a neighborhood. With them were Montgomery and Jerome Cloud of Englewood, who was arrested as part of last fall’s Englewood crackdown.
STORY / PHOTOS: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter
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