Rotenberg (PHOTO PROVIDED)
HOWELL — A 19-year-old Lakewood man has been identified as the suspect sought by authorities in an armed robbery at Reich Jewelers, where two employees were held at gunpoint and forced to fill duffel bags with jewelry.
Law enforcement agencies are searching for fugitive Avraham Rotenberg, 19, of Birch Street, Lakewood, in connection with the Feb. 17 robbery.
Rotenberg is wanted on charges of first-degree armed robbery, theft and possession of a weapon — a shotgun — for an unlawful purpose, according to the arrest warrant, Howell police Detective Eileen Dodd said.
Some of the jewelry was recovered after a Lakewood rabbi received a mysterious call at about 4:30 a.m. March 6 telling him to look outside his door for packages, police said. The rabbi called Lakewood police and reported the call.
Lakewood police responded and found two bags of jewelry outside the home of Rabbi Michael Rottenberg on Heathwood Avenue. The bags contained some of the proceeds from the Reich Jewelry store robbery.
Dodd said Reich Jewelers was robbed about 11:35 a.m. Feb. 17 by Rotenberg, who then fled the store with bags of jewelry.
During the robbery, Rotenberg kept the shotgun trained on the employees while demanding that they fill two duffel bags with jewelry from the display cases and the safe.
There were two employees and two customers in the store at the time of the robbery, which is located in the Grebow Shopping Center on Route 9, Dodd said. The robber fled in a 2004 Acura TSX with New York tags, and was found abandoned by Lakewood police off Miller Road in Lakewood the day after the robbery.
SLUGGER COMMENTS: "He won’t do 2 seconds of jail time, and you can bet the farm on that. If he’s not out of the country already, he will be soon. There was an orhtodox woman about 10 years ago or so that left a child to die in a hot car in Lakewood, and she never saw prison. So if that tells you anything, this guy is home free."