Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Disappearance of Josh Rubin

A Missing Man

Josh Rubin was last seen on Halloween 2011, when he left his apartment on Lawrence Avenue, near the cafe he'd opened just six weeks before. One of his roommates, Justin De Carlo, was home that Monday evening, but Rubin didn't mention where he was going.

Josh Rubin missing poster.
Josh Rubin missing poster.

He didn't open Whisk the next morning. The doorman at the luxury condo next door, which held deliveries for the cafe off-hours, noticed that Rubin never came in to pick up that morning's bagel delivery.

Whisk employees kept the cafe open through Wednesday morning, thinking Rubin might have been visiting family in Providence. They closed up shop only when they heard that his sister Hilarie Rubin had reported him missing.

Customers, neighbors and other friends put up flyers across Brooklyn and set up a Facebook site calling for information, and in mid-November his family offered a $5000 reward for information. The family hired a private investigator, former NYPD Detective Eric Lopez, even as police began their search. Lopez checked area hospitals and morgues, and interviewed people at more distant sites, including Occupy Wall Street's Liberty Plaza encampment.

Hilarie Rubin told police that her brother was diabetic and did not have his insulin with him. Friends told police -- and the press -- that Rubin had recently been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and that he'd seemed to be under a great deal of stress in the weeks leading up to his disappearance. There were rumors that he was having trouble coming up with a rent payment on the cafe, due November 1. He'd already been talking about selling the cafe, people said. Neighbor Zach Boyce said that he had been in discussions to take over Rubin's room in November, but Rubin's roommates had no knowledge of any plans to move out. The Ditmas Park Blog reported that the president of the co-op where Whisk was located insisted that Rubin was not behind on rent.

Unnamed sources soon told the New York Post that Rubin was $14,000 in debt, and that he had tried to kill himself on September 13. People whispered that Rubin may have been dealing drugs. In December, Brooklyn police acknowledged that they'd been told that Rubin had been passing up to a pound of marijuana at a time off to friends.

A police source later told the Brooklyn Daily that the killer was likely someone Rubin knew, and that he may have been associating with dangerous people in an effort to secure the money that he needed to keep Whisk open. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly would not comment on the specifics of the case, but confirmed that they'd consider whether Rubin might be involved with loan sharks.

But everything in the investigation came too late.

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