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The Murder Investigation of Convention Planner Ben Novack Jr. Looks
 at a Strange Home Invasion Reported to Police in 2002


By Julie Knipe Brown, The Miami HeraldMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

July 21, 2009  -The turbulent marriage of Ben Novack Jr. and his wife Narcy is detailed in a 2002 Fort Lauderdale police report that describes a home invasion planned by his wife and thugs with mob ties, robbery and death threats, surprise breast implants and peculiar sex games.

Seven years before his murder July 12 in a suburban New York hotel room, Ben Novack Jr., 53, was found gagged and bound to a leather chair in his bedroom and claimed his wife and five or six men with mob ties were behind it, according to the police report.

The group cleaned out his safe, stole business documents, cash and other belongings that Novack claimed were worth $1 million. The culprits had disabled his alarm system, beat him with a gun and threatened to kill him, he said.

Novack, the wealthy son of Ben Novack Sr., founder of the Fontainebleau resort in Miami Beach, was bludgeoned to death at the Hilton Rye Town in Westchester County, N.Y., where he was at a convention with his wife and his wife's daughter.

His wife, Narcy, 53, found his body when she returned from breakfast. The Miami Herald sent a certified letter to Narcy Novack's Fort Lauderdale home seeking comment, but she had not replied by Monday.

Among the evidence Rye Town detectives are looking at is the Fort Lauderdale Police Department's report on the June 10, 2002, home invasion, which The Miami Herald obtained Monday.

In the report, Ben Novack Jr. said he was attacked at 1 a.m., and tried to defend himself by grabbing his gun. The attackers, however, strong-armed him and his wife, then tied him to a chair.

He said the intruders threatened to kill him if he moved or spoke. He said he overheard them say they were working for a crime boss -- and they mentioned his name. But the police report redacted the name, as well as several other names, citing the ongoing murder probe.

Ultimately, as the alleged attackers prepared to leave, Novack pleaded with his wife to release him, but she refused, he said. He remained tied up for 25 hours, according to the account he gave investigators. A neighbor finally found him, the report said.

In the days following the alleged attack, the Novacks' bizarre behavior frustrated police.

Ben Novack insisted that his home at 2501 Delmar Pl. was being watched, told police they could not arrive in marked vehicles, refused medical treatment and said he did not want a crime-scene vehicle at his home. He told investigators he was a Miami Beach police officer, that he knew several police chiefs, had extensive clout in the community and was financially well-off.

Novack, a Miami Beach police reserve officer, later accused Fort Lauderdale police of interfering with his marriage. In a taped conversation with his wife, he seemed more interested in the return of his money and his business records than in discussing the attack.

Two days after the incident, his wife admitted to planning the home invasion and tying up her husband, according to the report.

But at one point she insisted he did so willingly as part of a sex game in which they tied each other up the evening of the alleged attack.

In one version, she also claimed a disposable urinal that was found near the chair he was tied up in was one that both of them used regularly at night so they wouldn't have to walk to the bathroom and wake up their cat.

She said she had only only one accomplice -- whom she would not identify -- to help her remove items from the home, including money from a safe in the floor of an office, which had Batman collectibles covering every square inch of the room from floor to ceiling.

Narcy Novack accused her husband of physical abuse and also claimed that he broke her nose then took her to a plastic surgeon. When she woke up, she told police, not only was her nose repaired but, to her surprise, she had received breast implants.

Finally, in an interview with an investigator, Narcy Novack displayed a large number of sexually explicit photographs and threatened to "expose [Novack's] sexual habits as well as other intimate secrets," the report said. There were also photos of naked women with artificial limbs.

After a detective told Novack about his wife's threats, he immediately agreed not to prosecute.

Narcy promised to return the money and items she had taken.

But the pair continued to argue about money and possessions. For days afterward, Novack called police dozens of times, telling them one moment his wife was going to kill him and that he wanted her arrested -- then the next day telling them they were reconciling and everything was fine.

His mother, Bernice Novack, at one point accused Narcy of poisoning her -- a claim that was not substantiated in the report.

An acquaintance of the couple not identified in the police report said she saw what happened the night of the home invasion, including Ben Novack bound and gagged.

But she refused to cooperate with police.

"She stated that she is moving out of the area as fast as possible," the report noted.

Ben Novack filed for divorce 10 days after the incident, claiming his wife had falsely imprisoned him and threatened to kill him.

But then he dropped the petition, saying yet again that they had reconciled.

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To see more of The Miami Herald or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.herald.com.

Copyright (c) 2009, The Miami Herald

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