Hasidic community leaders in Williamsburg Monday increased the reward in the killing of Menachem Stark to $25,000, hoping to generate tips into the Brooklyn businessman's abduction and slaying.
The increase in the reward money from $11,000 originally raised by Stark's family came a day after the NYPD took over as the lead law enforcement agency in the investigation. Stark, 39, was seen on surveillance video being kidnapped by at least two people outside his Greenpoint office Thursday during the recent snowstorm. His partially burned body was found Saturday in a trash bin at a service station on Cutter Mill Road in Great Neck.
"This was a ruthless, gruesome murder," Rabbi David Niederman of the United Jewish Organization said at news conference in Brooklyn, at which the reward was announced. "We are not looking for revenge. As a people of God we know that everything is done for a reason . . . the worst things are made by the worst people, and God will punish them."
Despite the body being found in Nassau County, the NYPD retained jurisdiction over both the abduction and homicide aspects of the case, a spokeswoman for the Nassau County Police Department said. A spokeswoman for the FBI in New York City said the agency offered its assistance but that since no state lines appeared to have been crossed the NYPD didn't require help.
At the news conference, Brooklyn Democratic Assemb. Joseph Lentol said he was told by investigators at the 90th Precinct that new Police Commissioner William Bratton was "very much involved" in the Stark investigation. An NYPD spokeswoman didn't return calls for comment.
A law enforcement official who was briefed on the case said investigators in the city are reviewing Stark's business records -- he was a defendant in numerous court cases involving foreclosed real estate loans -- and looking into some of his previous employees.
Stark had fired people, often without warning or explanation, said the official.
Investigators are also looking into the possibility that Stark didn't repay money he borrowed from other individuals, the official said.