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Catching the Carjackers: New Details Reported

(Clockwise) Carjack suspects Karif Ford, Kevin Roberts, Hanif Thompson and Basim Henry
(Clockwise) Carjack suspects Karif Ford, Kevin Roberts, Hanif Thompson and Basim Henry (Essex County Prosecutors Office)

Several news outlets Sunday reported new details of the massive police dragnet resulting in the arrests of four men in the fatal car jacking of Dustin Friedland at the Mall at Short Hills just seven days ago.

Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray
Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray (Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media NJ)

The Star Ledger reports that one big break in the case was the green Chevrolet Suburban caught on video circling the mall parking lot before the Friedland’s were confronted in the mall parking deck last Sunday night.

The owner of the vehicle, found found abandoned in South Orange, turned out to be the mother of one of the 4 suspects.

The paper also reports that the suspects –Hanif Thompson, 29, of Irvington and Newark men Karif Ford, 31, Bassim Henry, 32, and Kevin Roberts, 33–  began turning on one another after their arrests Friday night and early Saturday morning.

Police have so far declined to say which suspect fired the gunshot that killed 30-year-old Toms River native Dustin Friedland, a lawyer who was living in Hoboken with his wife Jamie. All four suspects are charged with murder, felony murder, carjacking, conspiracy, possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for unlawful purposes. Bail is set at $2 million for each defendant.

An Easton Times-Express report suggests the FBI had received specific information about where Henry could be found. The paper quotes an employee at a Comfort Inn in Palmer Township as saying the FBI arrived at the hotel shortly after 1 a.m. Saturday morning and went directly to the room where Henry was arrested.

Criminal background information has also been prominent in a number of published reports about the carjacking manhunt.

The Bergen Record reports one of the suspects had been in police custody at the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark on burglary charges and was released a few days before the carjacking. Another suspect, Basim Henry, robbed a Union Township bank in 2003 according to the Record.

The police work cited by Essex County Acting Prosecutor Carolyn Murray as “extraordinary” was also also hailed Saturday by Friedland’s family and the mayor of his hometown.

“We are very grateful to the Essex County Police and all of the local authorities for pursuing this so vigorously,” Jamie Schare Friedland said in a statement.

Toms River Mayor Tom Kelaher told the Asbury Park Press, I am absolutely gratified to see that law enforcement authorities have identified and arrested the people responsible.” Freidland was a 2002 graduate of Toms River North and was working for his father’s HVAC business in Neptune at the time of his death.

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