Cops: Kidnapped Brooklyn landlord's body found in Great Neck
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The burned body of a kidnapped Brooklyn landlord was found in a commercial trash bin in Great Neck -- less than a day after he was snatched off a Williamsburg street, authorities said Saturday.
Nassau County police identified the remains as those of Menachem "Max" Stark, 39, who owned rental properties in the borough.
Stark's body was found shortly before 4 p.m. Friday after the owner of the Getty gas station on Cutter Mill Road detected a foul smell and called police, who made the discovery.
The remains had been partially burned, according to a law enforcement source. There was no word Saturday night from Nassau police or the NYPD about a motive, suspects or the cause of death.
According to police, grainy surveillance video shows kidnappers wrestling Stark into a minivan Thursday night near his business office at 331 Rutledge St., and driving away.
The NYPD said Stark may have been carrying a large amount of cash.
When his family didn't hear from Stark, a Hasidic Jew, they first notified the Shomrim, a volunteer patrol in Brooklyn's ultra-Orthodox Jewish community and then called the NYPD about 2:30 a.m. Friday.
The NYPD and Nassau police will likely conduct a joint investigation into the kidnapping and homicide, said a New York City law enforcement official who asked not to be named.
Friends of the family said Stark was married with eight children.
Marcos Masri, 30, of Williamsburg, said he's known the family his entire life. Stark's father is a teacher at a local Hebrew school, Masri said, and he's known Stark and his brothers and sisters for years.
While he wasn't very close with Stark, he described the family as friendly and generous -- going out of their way to help friends in need.
Fernando Cerff, who owns the Getty station where the body was found, said he and his workers were plowing snow Friday morning when they saw smoke rising from the steel trash container outside.
That was initially disregarded as a possible burning cigarette. Workers tossed snow into the bin to extinguish it, Cerff said.
But Cerff said a worsening smell from the bin in the afternoon led him to call police.
Because of strict Sabbath observances, many in Stark's neighborhood didn't know he'd been found dead until after sundown Saturday.
Members of the Satmar Hasidic sect to which Stark belonged then flocked to the family home on Rutledge Street. Inside, a woman on the second floor cried and rocked back and forth, head in her hands.
Isaac Abraham, a Hasidic community leader, said the religious community was in shock. "We have full trust and faith in NYC law enforcement to bring these murderers to justice," he said in a statement.
Joseph Kohn, of Williamsburg, who knew Stark from their synagogue, described Stark as a "family man, generous, nice" -- with a "captivating presence."
A funeral service for Stark began shortly before 9 Saturday night in Williamsburg with hundreds of mourners gathered outside in the cold, filling a portion of Marcy Avenue near Hooper Street.
Weeping family members and others spoke into a microphone, broadcasting their sorrow in Yiddish.
With Anthony M. DeStefano, Bridget Murphy, Candice Ruud and the AP