A burned body found Friday afternoon in a dumpster at a Long Island gas station has been identified as Menachem Stark, a Williamsburg real estate developer who was kidnapped Thursday night, Nassau County police said Jan. 4.
The 39-year-old was abducted just after 11:30 p.m. on Thursday as he left his office on Rutledge Street near the Williamsburg Bridge. Police said two men forced him into a light-colored Dodge Caravan before they sped off eastbound along Broadway.
The NYPD later released surveillance video from the area, which shows the assailants struggling with Stark, possibly binding him with duct tape and then forcing him into the minivan.
Despite his family offering a $100,000 reward for information, Stark had not been seen the kidnapping and no ransom calls were made to his family, law enforcement sources said. The NYPD was also seeking tips from the public, as to Stark’s whereabouts.
Nassau County police investigators said they were called to a Getty gas station around 4 p.m. on Friday after the owner noticed a foul odor coming from the trash receptacle.
The gas station’s owner, Fernando Cerff, told reporters Saturday that he saw smoke coming from the dumpster Friday morning, but didn’t check on it until an odor became noticeable later in the afternoon.
“There was a smell…it was horrible,” he told the Daily News. “I got a really bad feeling about it. I knew something was wrong by the smell. It was just too strong.”
Homicide detectives said they found Stark’s body inside the dumpster. A police spokesman would not say how Stark was killed or the condition in which his body was discovered.
The NYPD confirmed there is an ongoing investigation into Stark’s abduction. Nassau police are now also conducting a homicide investigation.
Stark’s family could not be reached Saturday afternoon for comment.
Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.