SANTA CRUZ (KPIX 5) — The Santa Cruz County Sheriff on Wednesday released new video showing a person of interest in the unsolved kidnapping and murder of tech executive Tushar Atre last October.
The video shows a person on a bike coming to a stop in the middle of Pleasure Point Drive, in front of Atre’s beach house just hours before he was kidnapped and killed.
Authorities also increased the reward money in the case to $200,000. It is the largest reward ever offered in Santa Cruz County.
“Tushar’s family and friends are devastated by his death. And we feel a responsibility to them, to Tushar and to the community to solve this case,” said Sheriff Jim Hart.
It was the behavior of the person captured in the newly released video that raised suspicions among authorities.
“We have this person who stops on a bike and stares, almost listening, looking at the property. That’s not normal,” said Lt. Brian Cleveland. “That’s why we want to talk to this person and we want to find out those answers.”
The bike rider was picked up by a surveillance camera a little after midnight, about two and a half hours before another video was recorded at 2:48 a.m., showing three armed suspects walking up to Atre’s home.
The men proceed to kidnap him, forcing him into his girlfriend’s white BMW before driving him to a spot in the Santa Cruz Mountains where they murdered him.
“The thought of a group of people entering somebody’s home, kidnapping them and killing them right here in our community is hard to imagine. But it occurred,” Sheriff Hart said.
Atre ran a successful web design company and had recently become involved in a cannabis business.
“Tushar was a very well known person around here, And even $200,000 isn’t quite enough,” said Dan Suess, a neighbor and friend of Mr. Atre.
The crime rocked the normally laid back and peaceful Pleasure Point Drive neighborhood where Atre lived.
“It affect’s the whole community, because everybody is sort of on edge, you know? Doors locked, blinds shut. Just a constant fear of invasion is never easy to deal with,” Suess said.
A flier states that the $200,000. reward is a limited-time offer. Persons must provide information to the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Department no later than July 22, 2020. The information must also lead to the identification and conviction of a suspect.