Posted on December 24, 2013

4 Suspects Held in Fatal Carjacking at Mall

Michael Schwirtz, New York Times, December 22, 2013

After five tense days and an all-out manhunt, New Jersey authorities announced Saturday that four men had been arrested in the carjacking and fatal shooting of a New Jersey lawyer last weekend.

The 30-year-old victim was killed in front of his wife in the parking garage of a high-end mall, a seemingly random crime that sent shudders through an affluent suburban area where such violence is rare. {snip}

The suspects were identified as Karif Ford, 31, Basim Henry, 32, Kevin Roberts, 33, all of Newark, and Hanif Thompson, 29, of Irvington, N.J. They were charged with murder, carjacking and other crimes. Bail was set at $2 million. Three of the men were arrested at homes in New Jersey. Mr. Henry was arrested at a hotel in Pennsylvania. At least three have extensive arrest records, including for drugs, weapons possession, assault and in Mr. Henry’s case, a bank robbery that led to a seven-year prison sentence. Records show that Mr. Thompson was released from an Essex County jail just days before the carjacking after posting bond for a burglary arrest.


If convicted, the men face a maximum of life in prison.

Carolyn A. Murray, the acting Essex County prosecutor, said at a news conference that the primary motive was to steal the victim’s vehicle, a Range Rover. {snip}

The victim, Dustin J. Friedland, and his wife, Jamie Schare Friedland, were getting into their Range Rover in a parking garage at the Mall at Short Hills, in Millburn, N.J., around 9 p.m. last Sunday. Mr. Friedland, 30, had just closed the passenger-side door for his wife when two armed men attacked him. Mr. Friedland was shot in the head, and his wife forced out of the vehicle. Two men sped away in the Range Rover and two others left in a Chevrolet Suburban, the S.U.V. that all four men had arrived in, Ms. Murray said.


Mr. Fishman said the arrests were made possible in part because of the creation several years ago of a task force to combat what he called an “epidemic of carjackings” in Essex County. So far this year, there have been 450 carjackings in the county, compared with 200 in 2009, said Katherine Carter, the spokeswoman for the county prosecutor’s office. In August, the county began erecting billboards with the photos of convicted carjackers along with their lengthy prison sentences and slogans like: “Carjackers, your long-term parking spot awaits.”


The Friedlands met at Syracuse University’s law school and married shortly after graduation. Mr. Friedland was a project manager at his family’s air-conditioning company. Two months ago, the couple bought a home in Hoboken, N.J., and relatives said they were planning to start a family.