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Four men face charges of murder, kidnapping and robbery in connection with the abduction and fatal shooting of a 50-year-old tech executive last year, authorities in California and Michigan said Thursday.
Two of the suspects were employees of the victim’s cannabis business, the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office said, according to FOX 2 of the San Francisco Bay Area.
The crime was “heinous” and “senseless” – and was a planned effort to obtain money, Lt. Brian Cleveland told the station.
“They were after monetary gain and we believe that’s why the crime occurred,” Cleveland said.
The victim, identified as Tushar Atre, was founder and CEO of AtreNet, a web marketing and design firm based in Santa Cruz, according to the report.
The website of Atre’s company listed clients including Hewlett-Packard, GitLab, Perforce, MacuSight and Bay Alarm Medical. His Instagram page showed images of camping, hiking and surfing, Fox News reported in November.
Tushar Atre was last seen getting into a white 2008 BMW SUV. He was later found shot and killed. (Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office)
In the months leading up to his death, he’d started a cannabis manufacturing business called Interstitial Systems.
Around 2:48 a.m. on Oct. 1, the four men, armed with a rifle, entered Atre’s home while he was sleeping, then forced him into his BMW SUV. The vehicle and Atre’s body were found later that morning on a property in the Santa Cruz Mountains, authorities said.
In November, the sheriff’s office released black-and-white security video showing three people walking toward Atre’s home, with one of them carrying a rifle and duffel bag.
The suspects were arrested without incident Tuesday following a seven-month investigation that involved interviews with dozens of Atre’s friends, associates and employees.
Arrested in Southern California were Joshua Camps, 23, of Lancaster; Kurtis Charters, 22, of Lancaster; and Stephen Lindsay, 22, of Burbank. Arrested in Michigan was Kaleb Charters of St. Clair Shores.
Kurtis and Kaleb Charters are brothers, authorities said.
The three men arrested in California were booked into the Santa Cruz County jail while Kaleb Charters remained in custody in Michigan, awaiting extradition to California.
Fox News’ Barnini Chakraborty contributed to this story.