Deputies hunt for suspects in man's death, gun theft
A Florida sheriff is asking the public for help finding an unknown number of suspects in a recent death investigation that are “capable of murder” and may be heavily armed.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office determined that suspects in Polk City man’s death Wednesday have as many as 31 stolen firearms, according to a Wednesday afternoon news release.
“We have an unknown number of suspects on the loose with up to 31 stolen firearms. They are dangerous and capable of murder. Crime Stoppers is offering a $3,000 reward for information about these suspects. We need to find them before they hurt anybody else,” Sheriff Grady Judd said in the release.
Detectives were called to a a home in the 7400 block of Berkley Road in Polk City around 1:45 p.m. Tuesday after a group of good Samaritans were flagged down by 57-year-old man outside the home, according to the sheriff’s office.
The man had “obvious injuries” and told the good Samaritans that there was another man, 68-year-old William Reiss, inside. Officials arrived to find Reiss dead. The man was taken to the hospital and was listed in critical, but stable condition Wednesday afternoon, according to the sheriff’s office.
He also told investigators that Reiss’ 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 with wooden fence rails similar to siding on the back, shiny rims and Florida license plate Z2SKD with a handicapped logo was missing from the drive way.
As the investigation continued, officials learned Reiss collected firearms and as many as 31 firearms, including long guns and pistols, were missing from the home.
Video surveillance from a nearby home and several businesses showed an unknown black Chevrolet sedan, which officials believe could be a Sonic LT, traveling south on Berkley Road and Commonwealth Avenue North moments before the incident, according to the sheriff’s office.
The black sedan and Reiss’ truck were last seen on surveillance footage traveling north on Commonwealth Avenue North in Polk City around 1:40 p.m. Wednesday.
Investigators are still working to identify the owner or driver of the black sedan and trying to find the stolen truck. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the vehicles, the drivers, or the incident is asked to call the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at 863-289-6200. Those with information about the incident who wants to remain anonymous and be eligible for a $3,000 reward is asked to call Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS or log onto www.p3tips.com to submit a tip via the web.
The sheriff’s office urges the public not to interact with the suspects and they are armed and dangerous.