Menachem Stark's slaying: Two taken into custody, source says
The NYPD on Wednesday took two men into custody in the January slaying of troubled Brooklyn businessman Menachem Stark, a law enforcement source said.
Detectives also are seeking a third possible suspect who they believe was involved in the Jan. 2, 2014 abduction of Stark, 39, during a snowstorm in front of his Williamsburg office, the source said. Stark's partly burned body was found two days later in a trash bin on Cutter Mill Road in Great Neck.
The names of the suspects have not been released and they have yet to be officially charged, the sources said.
In a news release, Councilman David G. Greenfield (D-Brooklyn) praised the NYPD for detaining the suspects.
"The callous murder of Menachem Stark shocked not just the Jewish community, but all people of good conscience. Certainly, his family can have no peace until every person responsible for this depraved crime is brought to justice," Greenfield said. "Today's actions by the NYPD are a testament to their commitment to solving this case."
At a news conference Wednesday, Police Commissioner William Bratton would only say that the pace of the Stark investigation had accelerated in the last 24 hours and that further developments were expected in the next day. Bratton declined to say if anyone was in custody.
Stark died as he was being besieged by a number of business problems, including a lengthy bankruptcy case involving his real estate company and allegations that he was a slumlord. But a law enforcement official said detectives believe Stark's abduction was part of a robbery and had nothing to do with his many business problems.
The NYPD said in February that a key piece of evidence in the case was the discovery of the white van, which was found on a street in Brooklyn about two weeks after the abduction of Stark. Police said DNA evidence linked the slain businessman to the van, but have not said what role that evidence played in the arrest.
Police have said they believe at least two people were involved in the abduction of Stark, a married father of seven who authorities said was well known in Williamsburg's Hasidic community -- and who, police also said, was besieged by business troubles and mortgage defaults.
After his death, authorities said South Side House LLC a real estate company co-owned by Stark, had been in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings since 2009 and court papers indicated that at least $1.7 million had been improperly taken from a company bank account in the weeks before Stark died. An attorney for German American Capital Corp., which has a claim in a bankruptcy case against South Side House, said in a filing that more than $3.6 million in unauthorized withdrawals had been made -- more than double the original estimate.
With John Valenti