The abduction and killing of a Santa Cruz County website developer last year was allegedly a robbery carried out by four young men, including two who worked at a cannabis business the victim also ran, authorities said Thursday.
Early in the morning on Oct 1., Tushar Atre, 50, founder of AtreNet Inc., was kidnapped from his oceanfront home by three suspects who had a rifle with them, Lt. Brian Cleveland said. Atre's body was found hours later at a property in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
The suspects in his murder have been identified as Joshua Camps, 23, of Lancaster, Calif.; Kurtis Charters, 22, of Lancaster, Calif.; Kaleb Charters, 19, of St. Clair Shores, Michigan; and Steven Lindsay, 22, of Burbank, Calif. Kurtis and Kaleb Charters are brothers. The suspects were arrested at or near their homes, the sheriff’s office said.
Kaleb Charters and Lindsay previously worked for Atre is his cannabis business, Cleveland said. Camps was an "associate to the group."
Cleveland said authorities believe the crime was planned and believe the motive was robbery.
"Without getting into too many details, they were after monetary gain and that’s why we believe this crime occurred," he said.
Camps, Kurtis Charters and Lindsay are in custody without bail at the Santa Cruz County Jail for murder, robbery and kidnapping, according to the sheriff’s office. Kaleb Charters will be booked on the same charges after he is extradited from Michigan.
Sheriff Jim Hart said "compelling" evidence would be presented to the district attorney for consideration of charges against the four.