Arrest made in the death of Brooklyn real estate developer Menachem Stark

May 1, 2014 Associated Press
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A man was arrested in the killing of a real estate developer who was abducted as he left his office during a snowstorm and whose body was found dumped in a trash bin miles away, police said Wednesday.

Kendel Felix was arrested on a murder charge in the death of Menachem Stark, a father of seven and prominent member of an ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect who owned and renovated several buildings in Brooklyn but owed millions of dollars.

It was unclear Wednesday if Felix, a Brooklyn resident, had a lawyer, and he was in custody and couldn’t be reached for comment. A police spokesman did not give a motive for the slaying, nor did he say if there were any other suspects in custody.

Surveillance footage shows Stark being strong-armed into a minivan the night of Jan. 2. One of his brothers-in-law contacted the Hasidic community’s volunteer neighborhood patrol, the shomrim, when he didn’t return home.

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When the patrol members found his car and his office locked, they checked surveillance camera footage and then called police. His burned body turned up a day later in a smoldering trash bin in suburban Long Island.

Stark, 39, has been described as an honest family man eager to help his neighbors and friends, a man who had no enemies. But he’s also been called a slumlord. Some of his buildings were in disrepair, and he owed millions of dollars to creditors and had declared bankruptcy in 2009.

He lived in a stately brick building in Williamsburg, a neighborhood where hipsters in skinny jeans live alongside ultra-Orthodox men with ear locks and fur hats and women in modest dresses.

Brooklyn is home to the largest group of ultra-Orthodox Jews outside Israel, more than 250,000. Stark came from a large family, and his funeral was flooded with mourners.

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