Contact Us
Putnam Daily Voice serves Brewster, Carmel-Kent, Cold Spring, Mahopac, Patterson & Putnam Valley
Return to your home site

Menu

Putnam Daily Voice serves Brewster, Carmel-Kent, Cold Spring, Mahopac, Patterson & Putnam Valley
Breaking News: Police Seek Public's Help In Search For Suspect In Robbery Near Putnam
lifestyle

Hudson Valley Murder-For-Hire Case Featured On NBC's 'Dateline'

Ira Bernstein, a Ramapo podiatrist, has been charged in a murder-for-hire plot
Ira Bernstein, a Ramapo podiatrist, has been charged in a murder-for-hire plot Photo Credit: Ira Bernstein/Facebook
Two Ramapo detectives will be featured on an episode of 'Dateline.'
Two Ramapo detectives will be featured on an episode of 'Dateline.' Photo Credit: NBC screen grab

This story has been updated:

ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. --  Two Ramapo detectives who were able to nail a local podiatrist and his girlfriend with a murder-for-hire plot to kill his wife will appear Friday night at 10 p.m. on "Dateline" as the popular crime show takes a look at the compelling case.

Detectives Rob Fitzgerald and Pete Louzan handled the 2016 case against Ira Bernstein, 43, and his 36-year-old girlfriend Kelly Gribeluk of Airmont as they plotted to a hire a hitman for $100,000 to run over Bernstein's wife, Susan Berstein.

The two detectives spent three days with the "Dateline" crew and said they were super professional and went over every aspect of the case.

"It was a lot of fun," Det. Pete Louzan said with a laugh. "We tease each other a lot around here so my coworkers will have plenty of ammunition to use against us."

The drama unfolded when a local luxury car salesman who had sold a car to Gribeluk, was approached by her looking for someone to kill her lover's wife. He went to a Spring Valley police officer he knew and later helped by pretending to go along with the plot as the two Ramapo detectives put the case together.

Working such a twisted case was "interesting" and a "challenge" for the two detectives, but even more so because the doctor was one the entire department was very familiar with.

"Bernstein was our PBA doctor and we all went to him," said Louzan. "He was a very personable guy and his office was located right across the street from the department."

The doctor was also someone Louzan would see around town and someone he would not normally associate with a murder plot.

"It was strange during some of the 'meetings' with our informant because it was taking place right across the street from the police department," he added.

During the filming, Louzan said the "Dateline" crew rented a whole hotel suite for them to film the interview in and then spent days filming at different locations where events took place.

He even heard from the crew on Friday when they wanted to check a fact of the story.

"It was exciting and fun," he said. "After tonight I'll have to get a 'higher' class of friends."

In addition to the murder-for-hire, Louzan said the doctor also asked the if the "hitman" could arrange to have two United Healthcare insurance investigators who were probing the doctor’s podiatry practice for potential fraud "roughed up."

The cops had makeup artists make up the real insurance investigators to look like they had been beaten up and took photos of the fake injuries. The informant showed the couple the photos they paid for the attack, Louzan said.

The savvy detective also revealed that Gribeluk had been in an accident years earlier in which someone was killed. She wasn't charged, but he believes that event may have given her the idea for the hitman to use a car to make it look like an accident.

Bernstein, who ended up pleading guilty to lesser charges was sentenced to five to 15 years in state prison in May. His girlfriend received a four to 12-year sentence for her part.

Both detectives believe they had a solid case and that the District Attorney's Office did a good job.

Following the sentencing, Bernstein's wife said he was an "evil" man and didn't even care if their disabled daughter was killed along with her.

For real-time Rockland news updates in your Facebook feed, be sure to "Like" Daily Voice's Rockland County Forum page on Facebook by clicking here.

Follow Daily Voice on Twitter, @DVRockland, by clicking here.

to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.

Welcome to

Putnam Daily Voice!

Serves Brewster, Carmel-Kent, Cold Spring, Mahopac, Patterson & Putnam Valley

This is a one time message inviting you to keep in touch

Get important news about your town as it happens.