New York police are targeting the business partner of Brooklyn landlord Menachem Stark as a possible suspect in the Hasidic man’s murder.
Investigators say Israel Perlmutter, 42, of the South Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, is lying to them about Stark, the New York Daily News reported.
Stark and Perlmutter were partners in several real estate ventures, including a Brooklyn apartment building. They defaulted on its $29 million mortgage in 2009.
Meanwhile, police said Tuesday that Stark may have been squashed to death when kidnappers sat on his chest to subdue him after he was abducted on the night of January 2, according to the Daily News. Police also believe Stark, a 39-year-old father of eight, was already dead when his body was set alight in a dumpster.
Stark’s body was found in the dumpster January 3 on suburban Long Island, some 16 miles away from his office in the heavily Satmar section of Williamsburg, from where he was kidnapped. Video footage taken from his office reportedly showed Stark being taken into a van after a struggle outside his office by unknown abductors.
On Monday, members of the Stark family announced they were raising the amount of a reward for information leading to the killers to $25,000.
Stark’s wife initially called a local religious security unit when Stark didn’t return home late Thursday night, the New York Post reported.
Stark was believed to have been carrying several thousand dollars on him at the time of his abduction.
According to the Post, public records show Stark has a string of foreclosures and a $1.3 million judgment against him.