Today’s news:

Honcho of gang that robbed homes in north boro nabbed: DA

James Gutierrez, 43, of 108-20 51st Ave. in Corona was extradited last week to Queens, where he allegedly led a ring of 63 thieves dubbed the "Codwise Gang" that ransacked 300 homes in Bayside, Whitestone, Flushing, Jackson Heights, South Ozone Park and Fresh Meadows, according to a spokeswoman for the Queens DA. The ring was broken up last April after a series of arrests."He's an alleged leader of that crew," the spokeswoman said. The Colombian immigrant posted $10,000 bail and fled the borough in June after he was charged with burglary and petty larceny, the DA said. New York police detectives tracked him down in Hialeah, Fla., where authorities apprehended him in a car outside his girlfriend's townhouse on Feb. 22, Brown said.He was arraigned March 10 in Queens Criminal Court on additional charges of jumping bail, burglary, possession of stolen property and grand larceny, Brown said. Judge Lenora Gerald remanded him without bail and set a return court date of March 31. He faces 15 years in prison if convicted. Gutierrez was initially charged with breaking open the front door of a home in Elmhurst on April 29, 2003 and stealing $200 in cash, Brown said.He was recently charged with illegally entering a Bayside house on Aug. 1, 2003 and taking $3,000 worth of jewelry, the DA said. The Codwise Gang, which was named after Codwise Place in Corona, where the first break-ins occurred in April 2002, was comprised largely of immigrants from Cali, Colombia. Working in teams of three, police said, they carried crowbars and walkie-talkies and targeted high-end homes that they burglarized in the afternoon and early evening. Most of the crew lived in western Queens and they hit as many as six houses a day when their burglary spree peaked in March 2004, police said. Reach reporter Matthew Monks by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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