Authorities have arrested four men in the kidnapping and brutal murder of a 50-year-old tech executive more than eight months after he was taken at gunpoint from his home.
Brothers Kaleb Charters, 19, and Kurtis Charters, 22, of Lancaster, California; Stephen Lindsay, 22, of Burbank, California; and Joshua Camps, 23, of St. Clair Shores, Michigan have all been arrested on charges of kidnapping, robbery, and murder in the slaying of Tushar Atre, who was kidnapped from his Pleasure Point home in the early morning hours of Oct. 1, according to a press conference held by the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office.
Lt. Brian Cleveland said two of the men — Kaleb Charters and Lindsay — had been employees in Atre’s cannabis business.
“They were after monetary gain,” Cleveland said of the motive. “That’s why we believe the crime occurred.”
Cleveland said Atre — who was the chief executive officer of the digital marketing company AtreNet and owned a cannabis manufacturing business called Interstitial Systems — was taken from his home between 2 and 3 a.m. on Oct. 1 after the armed suspects broke into his home.
The men forced Atre into his own BMW SUV and drove away, Fox News reports.
Atre’s body was discovered around 9 a.m. that morning in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Cleveland called the crime a “senseless” act and said that authorities were initially led to two of the suspects after interviewing “dozens of people that knew Tushar as well as worked with Tushar.”
Authorities put in “thousands of man hours,” wrote more than 100 police reports, interviewed more than 100 people, and wrote 62 different search warrants in the case before the arrests were made, according to Cleveland.
“After seven and a half months, four people have been brought to justice for the murder of Tushar Atre. Hopefully this will allow some level of closure to Tushar’s friends and family and Santa Cruz County community,” he said.
Sheriff Jim Hart said during the press conference that after uncovering “compelling evidence” against all four men, investigators teamed with authorities in Southern California and Michigan to serve simultaneous search warrants Tuesday morning.
All four men have been taken into custody; however, Camps is being held in Michigan until he can be extradited.
Hart said the case was solved by “outstanding police work” and thanked the investigators, pathologists, and others who had helped secure the arrests.
“We butted up against a lot of closed doors in the last seven to eight months and every time that happened our investigators … found somewhere else to go with this case,” he said, calling the crime “a very, very awful thing.”
A statement from Atre’s family was also read during the press conference, which thanked the investigators and community for their support.
“Your tireless commitment to protecting our community and achieving justice for Tushar is truly inspiring,” the statement said. “Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
His family described the slain tech executive as a “loving son, brother, uncle, and friend” to many and said he had loved the Santa Cruz community he called home.
“He was an entrepreneur. He gave so many people their first jobs and created opportunity for so many others. He was a surfer, mountain biker, craftsman, guitarist, inventor, and lover of nature,” they said. “We miss him every day, but believe that Tushar’s spirit lives on in us and countless others.”
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