Lakewood man charged in robbery, may have fled to Israel
BY KATHLEEN HOPKINS • APP STAFF WRITER • DECEMBER 17, 2008
FREEHOLD — A 20-year-old Lakewood man who authorities believe has fled to Israel has been indicted in connection with a robbery at a jewelry store in Howell earlier this year.
The grand jury handed up an indictment this week charging Avraham Rotenberg of Birch Street, Lakewood, with first-degree armed robbery, a crime carrying a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
The indictment alleged that Rotenberg, in the course of committing a theft, inflicted or threatened injury on four individuals.
The robbery occurred on Feb. 17, the indictment said.
Police have alleged that Rotenberg was armed with a shotgun when he went into Reich Jewelers in Grebow Shopping Center on Route 9 South in Howell that day. He told two employees to fill duffel bags with jewelry, police alleged. Two customers were in the store at the time, they said.
The bandit fled in a 2004 Acura TSX with New York license plates. The car was found abandoned in Lakewood the following day, police said. About 2 1/2 weeks later, an unknown caller telephoned a Lakewood rabbi and told him to look outside. There, outside the rabbi's home, two bags of jewelry were discovered, police said.
"He's not in custody, and he's considered a fugitive," First Assistant Monmouth County Prosecutor Peter Warshaw said of Rotenberg.
Howell Detective Eileen Dodd said Rotenberg fled to Israel on a new passport after the robbery and never came back.
Anyone with information on Rotenberg's whereabouts is asked to call Dodd at (732) 938-4111 or Detective Brian Veprek of the Prosecutor's Office at (800) 533-7443.