By Brenda Flanagan
Police recovered the stolen Range Rover abandoned behind a vacant house in Newark hours after two carjackers at the Short Hills Mall parking deck shot the SUV’s driver in the head, killing 30-year-old Dustin Friedland, in front of his wife.
“A silver 2012 Range Rover left the mall at 9:11 this evening. Please call the tips line,” said Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray last night.
Sources say this carjacking is the latest in a string of cases targeting upscale, high-end vehicles — Mercedes Benzes, Lincolns, BMWs. We spoke to local residents who didn’t want to show their faces.
“Whole bunch of investigators back there. They took the Range Rover that was carjacked, they put it on the tow truck and they were out of here,” said one resident. “I’m not surprised at all.”
State Police report 282 carjackings in Essex County so far this year — 80 percent of them in Newark. Essex logged 414 carjackings last year.
“Newark is known for that — every day, all day. Why? That’s just the life,” said another resident.
At a house across the street from where police found Friedland’s Range Rover, investigators checked surveillance cameras for evidence and posted flyers offering a $10,000 reward for tips.
Friedland, an attorney, lived in Hoboken with his wife, who survived, uninjured. The Mall at Short Hills Manager Michael McAvinue told us, they’re “shocked and saddened… Our thoughts and prayers are with the families involved. Our shopping center is working closely with local law enforcement to support their efforts with this tragic incident.”
Police warn carjackings occur most often on Saturdays and Sundays and peak during the holiday shopping season.
They urge motorists to park in well-lit areas, shop with a friend and carry car keys in their hands as they head back to their vehicles.