TWINS Taleon and Keyontyli Goffney had their first run-in with police at 13, when the brothers from Camden saw a horse, mounted it - bareback - and took it for a joyride together.
"We were from Camden, we'd never seen a horse before," Taleon said. "It was like a unicorn to us."
The twins' last contact with police came in 2008, when they were arrested by a tristate Rooftop Burglary Task Force that was formed just to catch them breaking into businesses by cutting holes in the roofs.
In the wake of their 2008 arrests, the Daily News revealed that the brothers were also well-known in the world of gay pornography, starring together in films under their nicknames, "Keyon and Teyon."
Their strange saga gained the Goffneys national attention, including a mention on Weekend Update on "Saturday Night Live," a profile in Details magazine and a spot on a list of "11 Unbelievable Stories About Twins."
For the past six years, Taleon has sat in prison, watching from a computer as others have told his story.
Now, after his release last month, Taleon, 32, in an interview with the Daily News. "I know how to do dirt. This is about me trying to do the right thing now."
In police interviews after their arrests, Keyontyli fingered Taleon as the mastermind.
Police said Keyontyli told them that he and their mother, Towana Goffney, served as lookouts while Taleon, a crafty career criminal, committed the heists. Police initially filed charges against Towana, only to later drop them. Towana and Taleon claim that Keyontyli was coerced into implicating his mother and that she played no role in the burglaries.
Keyontyli was sentenced to two days in jail and four years' probation. Taleon, who had a lengthy criminal record, was sentenced to four to eight years in prison.
Taleon said the day he was caught was the day his dark period ended. This is from a man who said he made half a million dollars in the 18 months before that day and who spent the next year after that day in solitary confinement in a prison hole.
Towana Goffney was 15 and single when she gave birth to her twin boys at Cooper University Hospital in Camden.
When her own single mother didn't stop beating her after she brought the twins home, Towana took the boys and got her own place at 15.
"They were my lifesaver. I ended up having them to save my life because I didn't want to be on this Earth anymore," she said. "I needed a reason to be here."
The family was poor. Taleon said his mother often went without food so her kids could eat.
Growing up, Taleon, who is straight, had a "tough guy" image. Keyontyli, who is gay, had a "sassy mouth." But if anyone ever messed with Keyontyli, Taleon had his back.
"I fought for him my whole life. I fought all his bullies," Taleon said.
Taleon got into a lot of fights as a kid before he got into tae kwon do, which helped channel his aggression. In 2009, he was arrested for robbery.
"My life hasn't been the same since," he said. "Me and my friend had this stupid idea of running around and scaring people with a starter pistol. We didn't take nothing, just yelled, 'Give it!' "
Taleon pleaded guilty to robbery and served three years.
"I think my three years in made me worse. I met some real monsters in those places," he said. "Sometimes, you've got to be one to survive them."
When he got out at 21, Taleon had trouble landing a job because of his record, so he lied and was hired at a Philadelphia gym. But when management found out, he was fired.
"After that, I gave up," he said. "It broke my confidence."
Taleon said his brother, who was already doing legitimate modeling and gay porn, invited him to a modeling gig in Las Vegas.
"We get to Vegas and the next morning they make a sexual proposition, 'We need you guys to masturbate in front of the camera,' " Taleon said. "We went into the bathroom and argued for like 10 minutes.
"Keyon's like, 'Look, man, I need this money and you need it, too. Nobody's going to see it,' " Taleon said. "And I went through with it."
The twins also filmed a sex video called "Marc and the Twins" while in Vegas. Though the Goffneys don't have sex with each other, they do rub one another's chests during sex acts with Marc.
"After that first assignment, I sat in the bathroom for about 20 minutes. I made myself throw up," Taleon said, crying.
Taleon said he only did a few porn films and several still photos for magazines. He believed Keyontyli when he told him nobody would find out.
"You know when I found out that was a lie?" Taleon said. "When I'm in Philly in the Gallery and people start noticing me and pull out a magazine in public and I would sign it real fast and tell them to put it away.
"Sometimes I'd be with my girl and I'd be like, 'Oh, I just know him from school,' or whatever," Taleon said.
After a few porn jobs, Taleon began to loathe himself.
"That's when I committed to the street life," he said. " I'd rather risk my freedom than degrade myself for a couple dollars."
When he was looking for a new line of work, Taleon's drug-dealer cousin put him on the streets selling weed and crack. When his cousin got busted, Taleon was left with all the product.
"I had to kind of teach myself to become a drug dealer," he said.
When one of his customers called him up wanting $400 worth of crack in 2006, he went to meet her at an apartment complex in Clementon, N.J. But it turned out to be a setup, he said, and Taleon was arrested for having a loaded handgun and half an ounce of crack.
Taleon said he was handcuffed, stomped on and choked and put into the back of a police car. But what scared him is that the cops made a right into the woods instead of a left toward the police station. He claims he heard an officer say over the radio as the car started to slow: "This is good enough."
"Something came over me, survival mode," he said. "I can't use my arms. The only way I can get out of that car is to use my head. I put my head through the glass."
Taleon catapulted himself out of the car window and down a hill. As he stood up, he found himself in water.
He heard the police yelling. He saw their flashlights. He chose the water.
"All I see as I lean back and relax, because I'm starting to sink, all I see is the moon," he said. "I use the tops of the trees as a guide."
The current carried him downstream and he stood up on the other shore, about two blocks away.
"I couldn't repeat that night again if I had to," he said.
Taleon escaped that evening, but he turned himself in with his lawyer a week later.
On the rooftops
After his high-profile drug bust, Taleon was "hot" and nobody would give him drugs to sell. But he had a friend who offered to teach him a new trade - how to break into ATMs.
"He knows I got these ninjalike qualities," Taleon said. "He said, 'If you can make it up on these roofs, I got an idea.' "
Taleon used nothing but his own agility to scale two- or three-story buildings.
"If you think hard enough, you can find a way up anything," he said.
Once on top of the roof, he'd cut a "man-sized hole." He'd connect a rope to something sturdy on the roof, like an A/C unit or a beam, and he'd lower himself and his tool bag down. Once inside, he crawled combat-style on his stomach to the ATM while wearing a ski mask, head lamp and gloves.
The ATM was always the main target, Taleon said, but sometimes he'd hit the safe, too.
"I made money selling drugs but I never made money that fast. It was like $13,000 our first time out," he said.
Taleon's partner, who served as a lookout, liked to rest in between jobs, so Taleon kept going on his own. His lowest take was $4,000. His highest was $30,000 - in one night.
"The money be so clean sometimes it look white," he said.
Taleon estimates he made a half a million dollars in the 18 months he was doing the burglaries.
He was so prolific that a tristate Rooftop Burglary Task Force composed of 30 law-enforcement agencies was set up to catch him. When he was arrested, police said Taleon may have committed as many as 45 burglaries. Taleon will only say he committed "a lot."
He had no clue the cops were on to him as he lived the highlife, spending money on jewelry, vacations and a membership at Delilah's strip club, where he'd drop thousands in a night.
"It was like Christmas on steroids," he said.
There were times he even went back to the scene of his own crime the next day and stood with onlookers as they watched police.
"I remember tapping a cop and asking, 'What happened?' and I'm right there, the guy you're looking for is right in front of your face," he said.
Everyone around Taleon assumed the cash was coming from drugs again. Nobody had any idea about his new scheme.
"You know how they say there's nothing new under the sun?" he said. "I felt like I had the best-kept secret, like nobody's up on what I'm doing. I thought it was original."
Toward the end, Taleon saw his brother struggling for money and asked if he wanted to be his lookout. He figured they would "be like a dynamic duo."
On their last burglary job together, Taleon was inside Moon's Beauty Shop at 9th Street and Washington Avenue when he heard his brother say over their cellphones: "Oh s---. The cops got me surrounded."
Keyontyli was nabbed at the scene, but even with the entire place surrounded, Taleon got out. He was caught only when he went to retrieve his car at a parking garage later that morning.
'One gift about jail'
Taleon said he spent his first year in prison at SCI Greene near Pittsburgh in solitary confinement, "because of the notoriety of my case."
Once he was put into the general prison population, Taleon said, men would spit on him because they thought he was gay.
"I would go to the shower and there'd be two guys in there and they'd get out because they see me coming and think I'd be staring at their genitals."
For his first three years in prison, Taleon held a grudge against his brother because he "ratted" him out. Then, he got over it.
"He was just scared and trying to give them everything he can," Taleon said. "I understand now. He was never a street guy, just like I was never a gay guy."
While he was in prison, the only people who kept in touch with Taleon were his family. All the friends he'd showered with money didn't even write, he said.
"That's the one gift about jail, you learn who loves you in there," he said.
Taleon is living in a halfway house in the Northeast now while his brother pursues a career in stunt work and modeling in Los Angeles. Keyontyli declined to be interviewed but did pass along a shirtless photo of him and his brother.
"I'm not interested in discussing the past," Keyontyli wrote in an email. "I've worked very hard to get where I'm at today."
Taleon hopes to join his brother in California one day.
"We don't judge each other. Me and that boy been through everything together," he said.
Taleon said he's committed to living a clean life now. He's writing spoken-word poetry, working on his autobiography and sharing his story to urge others not to make the same mistakes he did.
"As a man, porn hurt me, but as a person, the crime hurt me," he said. "A lot of people had to suffer for me to get paid.
"I'm using my powers towards good now," he said. "I'm seeking redemption."
The last time Taleon was proud of himself for anything was when he won his third-grade spelling bee. He wants to feel that way again.
"We was maybe the poorest family in the room that day," he said. "Yeah, we were on welfare and sleeping on the floor, but the smile on my mom's face, you couldn't wipe it off.
"Money ruined my life," he said. "I was happy when I was broke."
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