December 21, 2013 at 8:26 AM
NEWARK, NJ – Four suspects have been arrested in connection with the carjacking and murder of Dustin Friedland at Short Hills Mall, according to Carolyn A. Murray, Acting Essex County Prosecutor.
Newark residents Karif Ford, 31; Bassim Henry, 32; and Kevin Roberts, 33; as well as Hanif Thompson, 29, of Irvington, were each charged with murder, felony murder, carjacking, conspiracy, possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose. Which of the suspects actually did the shooting is not being discussed at this time.
Three of the suspects were arrested in their homes and one, Henry, was arrested in a hotel in Easton, Pa. Bail for each has been set at $2 million.
“We’re not here today for any type of victory dance,” Murray said. “This is the beginning of a legal process and probably a long one. The defendants are presumed innocent at this juncture.”
The four arrests took place beginning at 9 p.m. on Friday evening through 3 a.m. on Saturday morning. Murray said it is believed that all four suspects arrived at the Mall at Short Hills in a Chevrolet Suburban, and that two left in the Friedland’s Range Rover while the other two fled in the Suburban. It is believed the couple was targeted because of the value of their vehicle.
U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said, “We have an epidemic of carjacking here, and we decided the only way we could effectively combat that epidemic would be to work together seamlessly, forming a task force of Federal, State, County and Local, to try to put a dent in this problem. Today’s arrests are the result of that effort.”
Friedland was shot last Sunday at approximately 9 p.m. in the parking deck outside of Nordstrom at the Mall at Short Hills as he and his wife were entering their Range Rover. He was transported to Morristown Medical Center where he was pronounced dead shortly before midnight. His wife was not injured, but was also transported to the hospital.
The Range Rover driven by the couple was found the next morning in Newark in the 200 block of Renner Avenue.
The Essex County Sheriff’s Crime Stoppers program had offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspects in this case, and the owners of the Mall at Short Hills offered an additional $20,000 while the Morris County Crime Stoppers program added $1,000 more. Murray noted that numerous tips had been phoned in by people all across the region and were helpful to the investigation.