Photo: Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office
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Authorities have released new details in the investigations of the kidnapping and murder of Santa Cruz tech entrepreneur Tushar Atre.
Santa Cruz sheriff’s officials said Wednesday that they are looking for a new person of interest — a bicyclist who is seen on surveillance video approaching Atre’s Pleasure Point house three hours before the kidnapping. The cyclist stops to case the residence and then bikes away.
Home invaders abducted Atre, 50, from his ocean-front home in the early morning hours of Oct. 1. He was seen leaving in a 2008 white BMW SUV that reportedly belonged to his girlfriend.
Police later found the car with Atre’s body inside about 10 miles away in the Santa Cruz hills. A coroner’s report determined he was killed by a single gunshot and confirmed the death to be a homicide.
Sheriff’s office investigators said the motive for the murder was robbery.
In November, the sheriff’s office released a surveillance video showing three suspects carrying a rifle and a duffle bag walking near Atre’s home just minutes before the kidnapping. After the video was posted, a publicly funded reward for information leading to the arrest of individuals involved in the murder was raised from $25,000 to $150,000.
On Wednesday, the sheriff’s office said the reward has again been increased — to $200,000, making it the largest reward in county history.
Sheriff’s officials also released what they believe to be the path the kidnappers took in the white SUV, starting from the 3000 block of Pleasure Point Drive, left onto East Cliff Drive, left again on 41st Avenue, then right onto Soquel Drive before a final left onto Soquel San Jose Road.
Police are again asking the public to view the video on the chance that someone might recognize the clothing, mannerisms and/or the “walk” of the individuals. Those with information should call Sgt. Daniel Robbins at 831-454-7635. Information must be submitted to police by July 22 in order to claim the reward.
#BREAKING: Reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect(s) in the murder of #SantaCruz County resident, Tushar Atre, has now been increased to $200,000. He was kidnapped from his Pleasure Point home on Oct. 1, 2019 and found dead several hours later. pic.twitter.com/fYKdS2la4U
— Chris Nguyen (@ChrisNguyenABC7) January 29, 2020
Atre’s company, AtreNet, builds, relaunches and maintains corporate businesses. It served some of the Silicon Valley’s largest corporations, including Hewlett Packard, VMWare, Marvell, Verisign, LSI Logic, Seagate and dozens of others, according to the company’s web site.
Atre was also the co-founder of Interstitial Systems – a licensed cannabis dispensary and delivery service.
Mike Moffitt is an SFGATE Digital Reporter. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @Mike_at_SFGate