Slain man’s ID cards also found, source says.

A police search of the car driven to the Lehigh Valley by homicide suspect Robert Durst turned up the license and medical card of Morris Black, the Texas man Durst allegedly killed and dismembered, a law enforcement official said Thursday.

Police also found two .38-caliber handguns and ammunition, and the credit card of a one-time New York business associate of Durst’s, the official said.

Colonial Regional police last Friday arrested Durst, one of the nation’s most wanted fugitives, after he allegedly tried to shoplift at the Wegmans store in Hanover Township, Northampton County. Police found $37,000 in hundred-dollar bills in the car driven by Durst, an heir to the billion-dollar Durst Trust, said the official, who asked not to be named.

Officers from New York, Texas and the Colonial Regional department on Wednesday night scoured the 1996 red Chevrolet Corsica that Durst leased from a Rent-A-Wreck in Mobile, Ala., using Black’s South Carolina license and Medicare card as identification.

Police in Galveston, Texas, arrested Durst on Oct. 10 and charged him with the murder of Black, whose body parts were found in Galveston Bay and in a boarding house trash bin.

Police found both forms of Black’s ID in the Corsica, giving Galveston officials a link between Black and Durst. After posting a $250,000 bond, Durst failed to appear for an Oct. 16 arraignment in Texas and sparked the nationwide manhunt.

On Thursday, a Texas judge denied Durst’s bond, meaning he won’t be released on bail if he is returned to Texas.

“Evidence was obtained that was germane to the investigation in Galveston and may have implications in the investigation in Westchester,” said Colonial Regional Police Chief Daniel Spang.

Police in Westchester, N.Y., want to question Durst in the reopened investigation into the disappearance of Durst’s wife almost 20 years ago. Police suspect Durst of killing his wife, but never charged him.

He also is suspected in the gangland slaying of longtime friend Susan Berman in Los Angeles. Authorities had wanted to question her about the disappearance of Durst’s wife at the time Berman was killed.

During the search of Durst’s rental car, police also found the first week’s bill from the Staybridge Suites off Airport Road, Hanover Township, Lehigh County, with handwritten New York phone numbers and directions to locations in New York, according to the law enforcement official.

Investigators also are interested in questioning a New York man whose name and credit card Durst used to pay for his 12-day hotel stay in the Lehigh Valley.

The man, Emilio Vignoni, and Durst were partners in a land deal that netted the real estate multimillionaire $107,000, according to public records unearthed by the New York Post.

Durst bought 79 acres in the Westchester County town of Lewisboro, near his weekend retreat in South Salem, in 1982 for $18,000, that newspaper reported.

In February 1993, Durst deeded the land to Vignoni, who in turn deeded it back to Durst in September 1994, according to the Post.

Durst sold the land to a construction company in June 1997 for $125,000.

No one knows why Durst came to the Lehigh Valley, but while he was here he was spotted dressed in a woman’s wig and white mustache in a local diner and holding conversations with himself over a beer in a local pub.

Spang said the out-of-state authorities plan to ask Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli to petition county court to put the inventory from the search under seal to prevent its contents from becoming public.

“They don’t want it released because that may tip off other people who assisted,” Spang said.

Morganelli said no one has yet made the request or given him a reason why he should seek the court seal.

“No one has offered me any compelling reason yet,” Morganelli said.

On Thursday, Texas authorities revoked Durst’s $250,000 bond in that state, according to Joel Bennett, assistant criminal district attorney for Galveston County.

Bennett said authorities also completed the paperwork needed to extradite Durst to face murder charges in Texas.

“We have filed the paperwork required to go to our governor,” Bennett said.

Durst is expected to fight extradition.

By Chuck Ayers (The Morning Call)


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