Last year, Dustin Friedland, a 30-year-old lawyer, and his wife Jamie, went holiday shopping at an upscale New Jersey mall. A short time later, Friedland would be dead, shot by carjackers who were stalking his Range Rover SUV.
ABC News has obtained surveillance camera footage that shows how the carjackers roamed the mall’s parking lots, looking for expensive vehicles, before striking. Nick Casale, a retired NYPD detective, says that the carjackers behaved like hunters, stalking prey.
The video shows how, on December 12, 2013, the four suspects in a two tone Chevrolet Suburban followed a white SUV around the parking lot, and appeared to continue to follow it as it left the mall. Casale believes that that was a trial run for a real carjacking. When asked if the suspects were testing security, Casale says,
“Yes. And they’re confident that they can do their carjacking, whenever, and however they want.”
On December 15, the surveillance footage shows that the Suburban returns, and parks next to a white car in a nearly empty parking lot. A few minutes later, the Suburban leaves and moves to another parking lot, where they find Friedland’s Range Rover. Police say that is when they shot Friedland, and took his SUV. A short time later, the two tone Suburban can be seen speeding away from the mall, followed by the Range Rover.
Nick Casale offers this bit of advice to holiday shoppers.
“You see something that’s out of whack, just keep walking away. You press your alarm. Let the light and sirens go on, then run.”
Jamie Friedland is suing Taubman Centers, the Michigan company that owns Short Hills Mall, for wrongful death. Friedland’s lawyer, Bruce Nagel, says that the case is not just about carjacking, but about people being safe while shopping.
“If the malls want people to come, and spend their money at stores that are located there, they’ve got to make it safe. And this case says to them go out and take the steps to make sure your patrons are going to be safe.”
Taubman Centers tried to prevent the video from being released to the public, according to the Daily Record. The company argued that the video would allow thieves to determine the location of the mall’s security cameras. Taubman Centers, and Universal Protection Service, that provides security guards for the mall, also tried to block the release of documents related to security and emergency preparedness. New Jersey Superior Court Judge James Rothschild, Jr didn’t buy the companies’ argument, saying it was a “fairly unlikely scenario.”
The four suspects in the case have all pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and carjacking.
Here’s the video, courtesy of ABC News.
http://youtu.be/twWnP03N8MA[Photo courtesy Bruce Nagel/Short Hills Mall]