(AP, February 2, 2004)

Before his death, Maurice Gibb of the Bee Gees provided information that eventually helped break up a daring burglary gang, police said.

Gibb, who with his brothers turned the Bee Gees into a disco sensation, had his rare collection of paint ball guns stolen at his Miami Beach home in November 2001. He described the guns to police and they later turned up at a pawn shop, leading authorities to eventually arrest two men last week.

Carlos Estremera, 35, and Emery Lorenzo, 27, were charged with burglary and grand theft after being caught on a security video during a January heist at a Plantation home.

Police say they suspect the same men, and possibly other ring members, were involved in 50 to 100 burglaries in high-end homes from Coral Gables to Jupiter.

"This gang has been operating for at least three years and they specialized in big waterfront mansions," Miami Beach Detective Elise Spina Taylor told The Palm Beach Post. "We think they've stolen millions. How many millions we don't know yet."

Investigators say the ring burglarized the mansions and then sometimes sped away in small boats.

Taylor said the burglary at Gibb's estate was key to arresting Lorenzo, a suspected ringleader. After the burglary, two juveniles brought the stolen paint guns to a pawn shop. The shop's owner called police, helping them link Lorenzo to the case.

Authorities are now seeking other members of the ring, Taylor said.

Estremera is being held at the Miami-Dade jail without bond. Information on Lorenzo or their attorneys was not available.

Gibb died Jan. 12, 2003, after emergency surgery for a blocked intestine at a Miami Beach hospital.

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