304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
The police said that Fahim Saleh was stabbed and cut up in his Manhattan apartment by a former worker who had been fired for stealing $90,000.
When the body parts of a young tech entrepreneur who had done business in Nigeria and Bangladesh were found in his multimillion-dollar Manhattan condo this week, the case at first looked like an international thriller.
A security video showed that someone in a black suit, a mask, and latex gloves followed the victim, Fahim Saleh, into his apartment carrying a duffel bag. The person then used a Taser to knock Mr. Saleh out, stabbed him to death, and came back the next day to cut him up with an electric saw, according to the police. One person in the police force said that it “looked like a professional job.”
But instead of leading detectives to Mr. Saleh’s business projects in other countries, the evidence quickly pointed to his former personal assistant, the police said.
Tyrese Devon Haspil, who used to work for Mr. Saleh, was arrested and charged with murdering him on Friday. Investigators thought that the suspect might have tried to make the killing look like a professional hit to take the focus off of himself.
At a short news conference on Friday afternoon, the chief of detectives, Rodney K. Harrison, said, “Mr. Haspil was Mr. Saleh’s executive assistant.” “He took care of his finances and personal matters.” ” It is also thought that he owed a large amount of money to the victim.
Three people who knew about the situation said that Mr. Saleh found out that Mr. Haspil had stolen about $90,000 from him. Friends said Mr. Saleh was a kind man. He fired Mr. Haspil, but officials say he didn’t report the theft. He even offered to set up something like a payment plan for his former employee so that he could pay off his debt.
Mr. Haspil, who is from Long Island and recently graduated from Hofstra University, was arrested at 8:45 a.m. on Friday in the lobby of 172 Crosby Street in SoHo, where he was staying with a female friend. He was caught by police in New York and federal agents from a U.S. Marshals Service regional fugitive task force.
“He tried to run,” the building’s manager said, but he wouldn’t give his name because he wasn’t allowed to speak for the owner. The superintendent also said that Mr. Haspil moved into the Crosby Street apartment on Wednesday and planned to leave on Monday.
Mr. Haspil, who has never been in trouble with the law before, was charged with second-degree murder in Manhattan’s criminal court on Saturday morning. Judge Jonathan Svetkey said that he had to stay in jail without bail.
Sam Roberts and Neville Mitchell, who represent Mr. Haspil, said that their client had pleaded not guilty. In a statement, they said that they had just started gathering information about a complicated case.
The lawyers said, “We want people to keep an open mind.” “This story is about a lot more than just accusations, a police arrest, and a charge from the district attorney.”
On Tuesday, Mr. Saleh’s cousin went to check on him at his $2.25 million condo in a high-end building on East Houston Street in the Lower East Side. That’s when she found him dead. The cousin was worried because she hadn’t heard from him in about a day.
The police said that when the cousin went to the apartment, she found a horrifying scene: Mr. Saleh’s head and limbs had been cut off, and parts of his body were put in plastic bags made for construction debris. Nearby, someone had plugged in an electric saw. (At first, the police thought that Mr. Saleh’s sister had found the body.)
A fourth official who knows about the investigation says that investigators have found that Mr. Saleh was killed the day before.
Officials say that a video shows the man they think is Mr. Haspil following Mr. Saleh into his building and then into an elevator, where they seem to be talking.
Officials said that the suspect was wearing a black three-piece suit, a black mask, and latex gloves. He had a duffel bag with him.
As the two men got out of the elevator, which led right into Mr. Saleh’s seventh-floor apartment, the attacker shot Mr. Saleh in the back with a Taser at about 1:44 p.m. on Monday, paralyzing him. Then, he killed Mr. Saleh by stabbing him many times in the neck and chest, killing him.
The next morning, Mr. Haspil used a credit card to rent a car and go to a Home Depot on West 23rd Street in Manhattan. “There, he bought an electric saw and cleaning supplies,” the fourth official said. A store camera caught him buying the goods at 9:30 a.m., according to the criminal complaint.
Later that day, the person who killed Mr. Saleh went back to his apartment wearing a gray sweatshirt with a hood to cut up the body and clean up the crime scene.
Officials said that security footage from inside Mr. Saleh’s elevator showed that the suspect used a portable vacuum cleaner, possibly to try to clean up the Taser’s residue.
But while the killer was cutting up the body, Mr. Saleh’s cousin buzzed the apartment from the building’s lobby. Before she could get upstairs, the attacker ran out a back door and down a stairwell, according to officials.
Local news articles say that Mr. Haspil just graduated from Central High School in Valley Stream, New York, where he won an award for website design. In 2017, he became a member of the class of 2021 at Hofstra.
The detectives think he started working for Mr. Saleh when he was 16 years old. Eventually, he started taking care of some of Mr. Saleh’s finances and other personal things, like taking care of his dog. One official said that Mr. Saleh paid him well enough that he could pay off the debts of several of his family members.
Mr. Haspil used to live on Woodruff Avenue in Brooklyn. One of his neighbors, Kate Hain, said that nothing about him made her think he could kill someone.
Ms. Hain said, “He and his roommate seemed to keep to themselves and didn’t make any trouble in the building.” She also said that in all the time Mr. Haspil had lived there, he hadn’t done “anything out of the ordinary.”
Mr. Saleh was born in Saudi Arabia to Bangladeshi parents who later moved to a small city on the Hudson River called Poughkeepsie, New York. In a statement released this week, his family said that his death was “unthinkable.”
After he graduated from Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts, in 2009, he made an app called PrankDial that let people send prank calls that had already been recorded. Mr. Saleh has said that he made PrankDial a $10 million business in the end.
Mr. Saleh went on to start Pathao, a company in Bangladesh that lets people share rides on motorcycles. In 2018, he left that company to start something similar in Nigeria. This was an app called Gokada. He was also a founding partner of Adventure Capital, a venture capital fund in Manhattan that invested in new transit companies in Colombia and Bangladesh.
On Friday, Mr. Haspil was led out of the Seventh Precinct station house on the Lower East Side shortly after 5 p.m. He was in handcuffs and a white jumpsuit. He didn’t answer any of the questions that reporters asked him.
At first, a law enforcement official called Mr. Saleh’s death a “hit.” However, some investigators now think that Mr. Haspil may have tried to make the killing look like a professional assassination so that detectives would think it was related to Mr. Saleh’s business deals.
Still, one investigator said that Mr. Haspil made “a few rookie mistakes,” like buying a Taser online with his own credit card and signing for the package when it arrived in June.
The manager of the Crosby Street apartment said that the police told him that Mr. Haspil had also used one of Mr. Saleh’s credit cards to buy balloons for the birthday party of the woman he was staying with. The building manager said that the balloons were still in the apartment on Friday afternoon.
“He used the credit card to buy balloons and other things for a girl’s birthday while he was with her,” the superintendent said. “How can you be so stupid?”
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