NYPD detectives are closer to making an arrest in the January killing of Brooklyn real estate developer Menachem Stark, Commissioner William Bratton said Monday.
"That case is still moving forward very actively," Bratton told reporters in an impromptu news conference. "We are very comfortable that it will be resolved."
Bratton, who said he gets frequent briefings on the case, didn't elaborate on the progress investigators were making. But a law enforcement source who didn't want to be identified said that detectives have compiled a circumstantial case against at least one person but are waiting for more information before making an arrest.
The 39-year-old Stark, was abducted outside his Williamsburg office on Jan. 2 during a snowstorm by at least two people. His partly burned body was found the next day in a large trash bin at a service station on Cutter Mill Road in Great Neck. Family friends said Stark was suffocated.
A key piece of evidence in the case was the discovery by police in Brooklyn of the white van Stark was forced into the night of the kidnapping. Investigators found traces of his blood and DNA in the van, the source said.
The investigation is painstaking in that detectives have had to analyze telephone records of people who used the van around the time of the abduction, although the owner of the van isn't a suspect, the source said.
Some of Stark's friends in the Hasidic community where he was active have grown impatient with the pace of the investigation. "It is good that life goes on but it is troubling that there is no news," said Isaac Abraham, a family friend and activist.
Stark had a reputation among some as being a slumlord and his company was in bankruptcy proceedings. A trustee in the bankruptcy case recently disclosed that about $1.7 million had been apparently misappropriated from the company accounts.