A Brooklyn, New York, construction worker has been arrested as a suspect in the brutal murder of Hasidic businessman Menachem Stark in January.
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The suspect, Kendel Felix, 26, was employed by a contractor who worked for Stark, a prominent but debt-ridden Brooklyn landlord, the New York Post reported.
Police described Felix as the “main player” in a botched plot to rob Stark. Two other men have been identified as accomplices and are being questioned by police.
All three were linked to the crime by evidence found in the van that police believe was used to kidnap the 39-year-old Stark and carry him to his death, sources said.
Two of the suspects were also linked to a cellphone that was attached to the underside of Stark’s car following the murder, a source said. The phone belongs to one of the suspects, and there were calls made to it by another of the suspects, the source said.
The trio snatched Stark off the street outside his office in Williamsburg on the night of January 2. His burned body was foundin a Long Island trash bin the following day.
Felix told the police that he and his colleagues accidentally suffocated the father of seven as he fought to escape, a source said. They originally intended to dump the body way out on Long Island, but the prediction of snow forced them to alter that plan, the source said.
"Today is bittersweet," said Rabbi David Niederman, head of the United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg. "Bitter because Menachem is no longer with us and he is forever missed, sweet that the law enforcement community has made an arrest in this heinous crime."
Stark was deeply in debt when he died, a fact that that police initially considered pertinent to his murder. After his death, it was discovered that he’d improperly withdrawn $3.7 million from his bankrupt business, South Side Associates, to pay off personal loans.