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One of Short Hills Mall killers had been given early release from prison this year by federal judge-Star-Ledger

December 21, 2013

12/21/13, Short Hills mall carjacking suspects had criminal records ranging from bank robbery to burglary, NJ Star-Ledger, Ted Sherman, Newark

shorthillsmallFourKillersDec212013NJDeptCorrectionsStarLedger

When Basim Henry robbed a Union Township bank in November 2003, it was not hard to connect him to the crime.

He had driven his white Pontiac to the bank on Morris Avenue, authorities said, and left it parked illegally on an adjacent side street with the keys in the ignition.

At least three of the four men charged this morning in the fatal carjacking of a Hoboken lawyer at a The Mall at Short Hills last Sunday evening have been arrested before, according to state and federal records, for crimes ranging from burglary to bank robbery.

Henry, 32, of Newark, pleaded guilty to robbing two bank employees as they loaded money into a drive-up ATM. Federal agents said he had stuck a gun to the head of one of the employees, while a cohort sprayed mace in the face of the other. He was tracked down by the FBI after his abandoned car was traced and found to be the subject of outstanding warrants.

In addition to the federal charges, Henry also faced separate state charges for weapons possession.

Henry was only recently released from federal prison on April 29, 2013, after a federal court judge reduced his sentence.

Karif Ford, 31, also of Newark, was arrested last year after leading police on a three-mile chase through Woodbridge in a car stolen from a supermarket parking lot. He was also charged with burglary in 2003 and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Hanif Thompson, 29, of Irvington, had been charged in the past on narcotics and theft charges.

And, sources say Kevin Roberts, 33, of Newark, the fourth man charged, also had a criminal record. The sources asked not to be named because they are not authorized to discuss what is still an active investigation.

The Essex County Prosecutor’s office would not discuss whether any of the suspects had a “rap sheet,” but said tips and evidence connected the four to the carjacking.

“It was old fashioned police work combined with modern technology that put the pieces together,” said Anthony Ambrose, the chief of detectives for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.

All four have been charged with murder, felony murder, carjacking, conspiracy, possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, in the shooting of Dustin Friedland, who was killed Sunday night after he returned with his wife from an evening of shopping.

Friedland, authorities say, was confronted after opening his car door for his wife. Shot once in the head, he was left for dead in an upper level parking deck at the upscale mall. The assailants fled in the couple’s 2012 Range Rover, which was found the next afternoon abandoned behind a boarded-up home in Newark.

The investigation included members of the Essex County Prosecutor’s Homicide/Major Crimes Task Force, the Millburn and Newark police departments, the Essex County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, New Jersey State Police, Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

If convicted, all four suspects face the possibility of life in prison.” image NJ Dept. of Corrections via Star Ledger, via Lucianne

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