YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A judge in Hackensack this afternoon continued bail at $750,000 for a founding member of the infamous James Bond Gang who is charged with plotting a thwarted scheme from his jail cell to have one of his co-defendants killed,
Detectives from Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli’s office charged WIlliam “Christopher” Collins, 41, with conspiracy to commit murder after a tipster told them of the alleged plot.
That boosted his total bail to more than $1 million.
Collins was one of four men and a 17-year-old boy taken into custody last December by a task force consisting of detectives from the Special Investigation Squad of the Molinelli’s office, the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office and several Bergen County municipal police departments — including Englewood and Teaneck — in connection with a series of local burglaries, the prosecutor said this afternoon.
Molinelli said members of the group — including fellow Bond gang founder Jeffrey Whitaker — stole jewelry from a Teaneck home last Dec. 22 that they sold to a Manhattan fence the next day. Investigators moved in as the quintet drove back to New Jersey, he said.
Both Collins and Whitaker were on intensive parole at the time despite extensive criminal histories. Each was also charged wiht using a juvenile to commit a crime.
Four months ago, investigators got a tip that Collins was plotting to kill one of his co-defendants before the case could go to trial, the prosecutor said.
Molinelli didn’t identify which alleged accomplice that was.
Additional charges were expected, he added.
PHOTOS, TOP: CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter Mary K. Miraglia
Based in Teaneck and Englewood, the James Bond Gang committed hundreds of break-ins in North Jersey and in various other states along the East Coast before being busted by the FBI working in conjunction with the prosecutor’s office and several local police departments.
The crew got its name from a customized BMW getaway car with secret drawers, halogen license-plate lights that blinded police, and rear pipes that could spew oil.
Various members returned to crime following their releases from prison, only to be arrested again.
Records show that both Collins and Whitaker was released into intensive parole supervision in July 2011 after serving only three months of four-year prison sentences.
Detectives watched in January 2009 as Whitaker, already a convicted burglar, cased homes in Teaneck and Englewood before breaking into two Bogota residences and walking out with large amounts of jewelry, Molinelli said at the time.
The investigators moved to cut off his path, but Whitaker threw his car into drive, hitting a police car, before surrendering, Molinelli told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
In his car, the prosecutor said, Whitaker had three pairs of gloves, a ski mask, two screwdrivers, and a large amount of stolen jewelry. Detectives who searched the car and his apartment later reported finding pot, drug paraphernalia, and assorted jewelry believed taken in other break-ins.
Task force investigators also watched in October of that year as Collins and another ex-con — “human crime wave” Melvin Collins — cased houses in Teaneck, Leonia, Palisades Park and, finally, the East Hill section of Englewood, where the pair forced open the front door of an unoccupied home on Arch Road, Molinelli said at the time.
Both were arrested after snatching a floor safe and several thousand dollars in cash and bolting out the back door, he said.
Search warrants led to the recovery of the safe, cash, a briefcase and pillow cases stuffed with three jewelry boxes.
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