Jul 28, 2014
67°
Clear

Four Essex County Men Accused of Deadly Short Hills Mall Carjacking

Three Newark men and an Irvington resident charged in killing of Hoboken attorney.

Four Essex County Men Accused of Deadly Short Hills Mall Carjacking Four Essex County Men Accused of Deadly Short Hills Mall Carjacking Four Essex County Men Accused of Deadly Short Hills Mall Carjacking Four Essex County Men Accused of Deadly Short Hills Mall Carjacking Four Essex County Men Accused of Deadly Short Hills Mall Carjacking Four Essex County Men Accused of Deadly Short Hills Mall Carjacking Four Essex County Men Accused of Deadly Short Hills Mall Carjacking
Written By Mike Pignataro and Melinda Stevens

Four Essex County men have been charged in the fatal carjacking of a Hoboken attorney at The Mall at Short Hills last weekend, authorities announced Saturday morning.

Hanif Thompson, 29, of Irvington, and Newark residents Karif Ford, 31, Basim Henry, 32, and Kevin Roberts, 33, were each charged with murder, felony murder, carjacking, conspiracy, possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose.

Henry was arrested by the FBI Task Force at a hotel in the Easton area in Pennsylvania, while the other three were apprehended at their homes, Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray said at a Saturday morning press conference in Newark.

According to a manager of the Comfort Inn in Palmer Township, Pa., the FBI arrived at the hotel at about 1:15 a.m. Saturday, LehighValleyLive.com reported. The federal agents went to a room where a man and woman had been staying since Wednesday, the manager told the website.

All four of the men were arrested without incident between 9 p.m. Friday night and 3 a.m. Saturday. Bail was set at $2 million each and arraignments will be announced Sunday.

At least three of the four men have criminal records, ranging from burglary to bank robbery, according to NJ.com.

Now they each face life in prison if convicted for the killing of Dustin Friedland, 30, who was shot in the head when he and his wife returned to their SUV in a parking deck shortly after 9 p.m. last Sunday. Friedland was pronounced dead at 11:45 p.m. that night at Morristown Medical Center. His wife, Jamie, who was uninjured, was also transported to the hospital.

According to Murray, the couple's Range Rover was the target—not Friedland—in the incident. Authorities declined to comment which man allegedly pulled the trigger. The weapon has not been recovered, Murray said.

The investigation revealed the four men were all in the parking lot the night of the killing with two leaving in the stolen SUV and the other two in the vehicle they arrived in, according to Murray.

The four men were arrested through a "combination of witnesses, statements, technology, old-fashioned police work and putting the pieces together," Murray said.

Murray declined to comment whether the men were connected to a gang.

Investigators examined mall surveillance tapes and searched behind a vacant, boarded-up house on Renner Avenue in Newark where the SUV was found this week and a $41,000 reward was offered for information that led to the capture of the carjackers.

"There has been an epidemic of carjackings and so we formed a task force earlier this year combined with federal state, county and local forces and others to stop it and these arrests are a result of this effort," U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said.

"Whether you live in Essex County—or anywhere in New Jersey—work here, go to school here, or are just passing through, you deserve safety," Fishman said. "You shouldn’t have to worry when you get in your car that someone is going to put a gun to your head. That is why we are working so closely with all levels of law enforcement to take these violent offenders off the streets and to make it clear these crimes will not be tolerated."

Friedland, who grew up in Toms River, studied mechanical engineering at Bucknell University and graduated Syracuse Law School. Services for Friedland, an avid runner who lived in Hoboken, were held Wednesday in South Jersey.

Don’t miss updates from Patch!