NYPD searches for white van in Menachem Stark abduction and killing
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NYPD investigators are poring over surveillance tapes, E-ZPass records and other technology to track the route of a white van used by the kidnappers of Hasidic businessman Menachem Stark before they dumped his body in Great Neck, Police Commissioner William Bratton said Tuesday.
"The department has various capabilities and is exploring all of those opportunities to gather information, very much around the issue of the white van, seeing if we can get a shot of the license plate that allows us start building our case from there," Bratton told reporters during a briefing in Manhattan.
Bratton noted that detectives are reviewing the results of license plate scanners, which are deployed in a number of police vehicles in the city. But so far, Bratton said the probe into the abduction and subsequent killing of Stark had "no significant leads," and he asked for the public's assistance.
Bratton wouldn't talk about whether any of Stark's business partners were cooperating in the case but said detectives would contact them.
In a related development, the attorney for Israel Perlmutter, one of Stark's business partners, denied a media report that he was a "possible suspect" in the case. "They [the NYPD] said he is not a suspect," attorney Henry Mazurek told Newsday.
A spokeswoman for the NYPD did not return requests for comment.
A law enforcement official said recently that police were looking into whether Stark, who was facing financial pressures, borrowed money from people in the criminal world. The official said detectives also wanted to talk to employees Stark fired over the years.
Stark, 39, was seen on a surveillance video being abducted during Thursday's snowstorm by two people outside of his office building in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn. Police circulated portions of videos that showed a white van driving away. Stark's partially burned body was found in a refuse container at a service station on Cutter Mill Road on Saturday.
Mazurek said that Perlmutter had been cooperating with the investigation and directed police to the surveillance camera that captured the abduction.
The Nassau County medical examiner's office declined to say how Stark was killed, and Bratton said the official cause of death wasn't yet known.
An acquaintance of Stark said the cause is believed to be suffocation.
Family and friends have put up a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest, with the NYPD offering an additional $10,000 and the NYPD Crime Stoppers program putting up an additional $2,000.