Chester County prosecutors have charged an ex-con with murdering Sam Algarin, a 31-year-old father of two, during a carjacking and robbery in a quiet rural area last week.
Hakeem Smith, 31, is charged with murder for allegedly shooting Sam Algarin, 30, once in the chest, and then dumping his body by the side of the road.
“This was a senseless and cold-blooded killing,” Chesco DA Tom Hogan said in a statement. “The defendant needed a car and money, so he killed an innocent victim to get what he wanted.”
Algarin was a well-liked Quarryville resident who had worked for 12 years at a Chevrolet car dealership in Oxford. Stunned co-workers told NBC10 they put together a $4,500 reward for information leading to the arrest of Algarin’s killer over the weekend.
Sam Algarin Encounters Suspected
Algarin encountered Smith on Sept. 13 while he picking up his car, a 2010 GMC Terrain, from a parking lot, when he encountered Smith, prosecutors say.
According to the criminal complaint, Algarin had gotten out of work at 6 p.m. and met up with his mother and two young sons to take them to a karate class. After the class ended at 9 p.m., they got pizza at nearby Pasquale’s Pizza, and then Algarin’s mother drove him back to the parking lot of the Oxford Starbucks, where he had left his parked car.
Meanwhile, just a few hours earlier, Smith had been ordered to leave the home of his own mother, located on Conowingo Circle less than a mile from the Starbucks.
Police were called around 7:44 p.m. by Smith’s mother due to a dispute over his refusal to leave the home. Police on the scene supervised Smith leaving the house on foot with his possessions in bag – but observed no “red flags,” Hogan told NBC10.
Smith had previously been arrested for aggravated assault in 2002 and 2013, and for illegal possession of a firearm in 2009. He was released from prison in February 2018.
Details are still murky, but Algarin, who had been expected to return to his mother’s house shortly after 9:30 p.m., never returned. Police were called after residents saw his body lying by the side of Limestone Road, just six miles north of the Starbucks, with a gunshot wound to the chest and his wallet and phone missing.
West Fallowfield Township police quickly found surveillance video from a Turkey Hill gas station showing Smith driving Algarin’s car just minutes later.
The car was recovered Sept. 16 in Westtown Township. Police found Smith’s palmprint in the car, along with blood on the driver’s seat and seatbelt. They also found Smith’s fingerprints on Algarin’s iPhone X, which police found in the field two miles away from where Algarin’s body was found.
Smith was spotted walking on the street in West Chester by local police. He fled into a nearby residence but later surrendered to a West Chester SWAT team.
“West Fallowfield is a quiet and peaceful rural area, and we seldom see violence like this,” West Fallowfield Police Chief Charles “Smoke” Wilmont said in a statement. “However, the entire team came together to investigate and arrest the defendant. My thoughts and prayers go out to Sam Algarin’s family.”
Coworkers at the Jeff D’Ambrosio Chevrolet dealership where Algarin worked described him to WGAL as someone who always had a smile on his face, and are now raising funds for his children.
“Sam Algarin was a good father to his children, a good son to his mother, a good worker to his employer, and a friend to everybody he met,” Hogan said. “The defendant killed the victim and dumped him on the side of the road like trash. Now the defendant will face justice.”