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Feds Claim Bust of NYC Robbery Ring

October 6, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ Authorities say they’ve busted an ``over-the-hill gang″ of middle-aged burglars who filched as much as $10 million in furs, jewelry and silverware from luxury homes and estates.

Six men and one woman were arrested by the FBI and local authorities Monday and charged with racketeering, transporting stolen property across state lines and selling stolen goods.

The 35-count indictment accuses the gang of stealing $1.2 million in 20 burglaries. But investigators believe the suspects actually hit thousands of homes since the early 1980s, making off with up to $10 million in valuables, including $500,000 worth of jewelry in one haul, U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White said.

White described a simple scheme: The burglars would stake out estates until the owners left. At nightfall, they would smash windows, grab valuables and flee by car to the Brooklyn apartment of the alleged ringleader, John Davis, 52.

The burglars would split any cash on the spot. Merchandise later would be sold to fences, White said.

Davis, who is unemployed and has a criminal record dating to 1968, drives a Rolls-Royce and owns a second home in Florida, Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander Shapiro said. Investigators found $11,000 in his apartment and believe he staged a break-in as recently as Saturday.

Over the years, local police made occasional arrests in the burglaries, but they never connected the crimes until accomplices began cooperating with investigators, White said.

Arrested along with Davis were Fyndle Brooks, 56, who recently suffered a stroke and lives in a nursing home; Jerry Richardson, 56; Freddie Young, 51; Goldie Willoughby, 40; and two alleged fences, Terry Kaplan, 41, and his wife, Martha Kaplan, 43.

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