Hassidic Millionaire Abducted in Brooklyn, Reportedly Found Dead
A badly burned body found on a Great Neck dumpster outside a gas station is the millionaire Hassidic real estate developer who was kidnapped in Williamsburg Thursday, law enforcement sources confirmed to The New York Post.
The NYPD released video Saturday morning that appears to show suspects forcing Stark into a light-colored Dodge Caravan after he had left the real estate offices of Southside Associates on Rutledge Street near Broadway. Investigators believe he was duct-taped before he was thrown into the van, which sped off.
A gas station employee in Great Neck had discovered the body around 4 p.m., Friday, and alerted Nassau County Police.
Earlier, Stark's relatives offered to pay a $100,000 reward for his safe return, no questions asked, after he was kidnapped outside his Brooklyn office Thursday night.
DNAinfo New York reported that Stark left his office at 331 Rutledge Street at 11:20 p.m. Thursday and was walking to his home a few blocks away when two men grabbed him, and drove him away in a white or light-colored minivan, according to a flyer put out by Shomrim, a neighborhood watch group for the Orthodox community. Security video shows Stark being pulled into the van.
Stark's wife, Bashie, became worried when he did not come home before midnight and notified the neighborhood patrol, the NYPD said. Shomrim alerted police at 2:30 a.m. on Friday.
NYPD investigators canvassed Rutledge Street on Friday morning, pulling security footage from multiple security cameras and speaking to local business owners. The search continued into the Sabbath, and Jewish volunteers took part in it with rabbinical permission, reported the Jewish Daily Forward.
The embedded video shows the van in which he was abducted driving down Broadway.
“We have to move quickly,” Yoely Stark, Menachem Stark’s brother told Voz Is Neias on Friday. “Shabbos is coming and time is very important.”
The brother invoked the memory of Leiby Kletzky, the Brooklyn boy who was snatched off the street and murdered in 2011.
“Remember Leiby Kletzky? They only got him through the security cameras and we need people to come forward now to help,” Yoely Stark told the web site. “The fastest way possible to get information is through the cameras which give the most accurate information.”
Police sources told the Daily News that Stark was carrying $4,000 in cash at the time of the alleged kidnapping.
Stark was reportedly sued in 2011 over a $29 million loan that financed a 74-unit residential rental building at 100 South 4th Street in south Williamsburg, The Real Deal reported. Yitzy Stark acknowledged that his brother was involved in several large real estate deals, but said the family knows of no bad blood that could have sparked the kidnapping.
Stark is a member of the Satmar hassidic community.