ANOTHER CVP EXCLUSIVE : Onetime pro basketball sure thing Sean Anthony Banks of Englewood is back in the Bergen County Jail following his arrest in a domestic violence incident, as he awaits trials on other charges that could send him to state prison.
Englewood police arrested Banks ten days before this past Christmas on charges of criminal restraint and eluding police while risking harm to others, along with a pair of weapons offenses.
Other agencies issued detainers on Banks, who turned 28 Sunday in the Bergen County Jail, where he’s been held on $95,554.
He already was in serious trouble after being charged along with other members of an offshoot of the notorious “James Bond Gang” of area burglaries following a high-speed chase and crash while being pursued by police after break-ins at homes in Sparta and Jefferson Township.
The New Orleans Hornets signed the 6-foot-8-inch Bergen Catholic star as an undrafted rookie free agent in the summer of 2005 and assigned him to the team’s developmental affiliate in Tulsa after he averaged four points a game in pre-season and spendt the first seven games of the NBA season on the inactive list.
After the Hornets waived him, Banks played in Puerto Rico and with other U.S. developmental teams. He’d become a father and had hopes of playing for Great Britain’s national team. His last great hurrah was scoring 14 points in a D-League All-Star game five years ago.
The naturally gifted Banks wasn’t just any player coming out of Bergen County. At Memphis University, he was the Conference USA Freshman of the Year in 2004, scoring 17.4 points per game and grabbing 6.5 rebounds for a major college program.
But things went sour after Banks left school, unable to meet the academic requirements.
His criminal behavior began simply, with charges of drunk driving and the gang-related marking of a girl with a cigarette.
Then it got worse.
Banks was in an SUV that took off after being stopped for speeding in August 2011 a short time after a pair of nearby burglaries.
The vehicle flipped during the chase, trapping Banks and three other men with him inside. Inside the SUV, police said, they recovered more than $20,000 worth of stolen goods.
The occupants were later identified by Englewood police as major area burglars: Aasim Boone, 29, and his brother, Akeem “Light” Boone, 27, both of Englewood, and Jerry Montgomery, 31, of Teaneck.
Akeem Boone had barely been out of state prison two years when the incident occurred, records showed.
The brothers rejected separate plea deals – one that would have put the elder Boone (who drove the SUV) behind bars for 15 years and the other that would have meant a five-year sentence for Akeem.
Montgomery was offered a five-year deal, too, in addition to a four-year sentence he was already facing for a burglary conviction in Somerset County.
A judge assigned Banks a public defender after his lawyer said he couldn’t get through to him – or get paid.
Authorities identified him, the Boone brothers and Montgomery as copycats of the Teaneck/Englewood area’s “James Bond Gang,” which targeted upscale homes, kept an electronic ear out for police on scanners, then kicked or shouldered in front doors, cut the phone lines, dashed to master bedrooms and made off with jewelry and other valuables — after spending no more than a few minutes inside, if that long.
By the time alarm companies checked on the problem and alerted police, the burglars were gone ( SEE BELOW ).
The chase and arrest officially put the Boone brothers and other members of a large-scale burglary crew with criminal pasts on the radar of law enforcement agencies that stretched from Morris to Fairfield County in Connecticut.
Last October, members of a multi-jurisdictional task force that had been tailing them burst into a Williams Street garage near the King Gardens apartment complex in Englewood and grabbed Akeem Boone – at the time a wanted felon — and other accused crew members.
Another defendant, Renando L. Sheffield, turned himself in weeks later after detectives tracked him down.
Sheffield and Aasim Boone were free on bail pending trial on charges of burglarizing an Old Tappan home in November 2011.
In addition to the charges filed in connection with last month’s domestic violence incident, Banks still faces complaints of hindering prosecution, obstruction, criminal mischief and other counts from previous cases — and those are just in Englewood.
Additional charges are pending elsewhere, including in Wayne stemming from a July 2011 incident, records show.
JAMES BOND GANG:
The “James Bond Gang,” which dates back to the late 1980s and was first publicized by the author of this story (Jerry DeMarco), got its name from a tricked-out BMW that had secret compartments and a flip-up license plate that hid a quartet of blinding halogen lights used to thwart police. The FBI said the car also had an oil slick-squirting pipe behind the bumper.
JAMES BOND GANG VIDEO Pt. 1:
JAMES BOND GANG VIDEO Pt. 2:
As the gang’s notoriety grew, and the break-ins piled up throughout Bergen County, detectives in various municipalities teamed up with county prosecutor’s investigators – and, eventually, the FBI – to take down the crew.
And they did it in a unique way – snagging their Diamond District fences, including one whom the gang kept on returner.
Although the four key members and some of their associates went to federal prison, several returned to action once they were released – only to be arrested and sent back to prison.
Daniel “Tokyo” Gaston took up the mantle, leading hundreds of break-ins, including one of Patrick Ewing’s Englewood Cliffs home – and another, in Alpine, in which a state-record $830,000 in cash was swiped. Although not technically a Bond Gang member, Gatson – who’s serving a 30-year stretch in state prison – fit the same profile.
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