WYCKOFF, N.J. -- Police captured two suspected members of a national car burglary gang following a chase and crash in Upper Saddle River after they smashed windows and stole valuables from vehicles at the Wyckoff YMCA, authorities told Daily Voice.
Tony Spells and La'quez Boyd, both 19 of Fort Lauderdale, were being held on $75,000 bail each in the Bergen County Jail.
Police in Wyckoff and Upper Saddle River charged them with various counts of burglary, theft and resisting arrest.
The pair might have had an accomplice when they entered the YMCA on Wyckoff Avenue sometime after 9 a.m. Monday, Wyckoff Police Chief David Murphy told Daily Voice.
"They shattered windows, then reached in and grabbed whatever they saw -- purses, whatever was visible," Murphy said Tuesday morning.
A short time later, Allendale police tried to make a routine stop of their SUV on Brookside Avenue.
"At that point, no one knew what had happened yet," Murphy said.
"They took off and a chase ensued," during which various items stolen from other vehicles were tossed from the fleeing SUV, he said.
Around the same time, Wyckoff police got a call about the car break-ins, the chief said.
The SUV eventually crashed on Lake Street and the pair bolted.
After an extensive search -- which included police from Allendale, Mahwah, Upper Saddle River, other surrounding departments and a Bergen County Sheriff’s K-9 unit -- police found Spells and Boyd. Area schools were temporarily placed on lock down during the search.
Surveillance images from the Y tied the burglaries to Spells and Boyd, Murphy said.
The so-called Felony Lane Gang has been swiping credit cards, checkbooks and other personal identification from unlocked cars at Bergen County-area gyms, day care centers, YMCAs and county parks – and then pulling money from victims’ accounts.
It usually takes them less than 30 seconds, authorities said.
Victims have reported recent car burglaries at Lyndhurst, Mahwah, North Arlington, Oakland, Park Ridge, Ramsey, Ridgewood, Rutherford, Saddle Brook, Saddle River and Waldwick.
“Their purpose is to break into unattended vehicles and steal identification and financial documents…whether in bags, purses, or wallets or otherwise stored in the vehicles,” Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal said.
“They then immediately attempt to use the stolen information to attempt to withdraw money from their victims’ bank accounts, or to incur unauthorized charges on their victims’ credit cards, using their stolen identification cards to facilitate their activities,” he said.
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