POLK CITY, Fla. (WFLA) – Shortly after 1:45 Wednesday afternoon, 57-year-old Kenneth Maier was standing in the driveway of his home and managed to flag down three people driving by.
Maier had been shot several times. He told the good samaritans his friend had also been shot inside of their home on Berkley Road in Polk City.
The three men entered the home and found 68-year-old William Reiss deceased. Maier was taken to a local hospital and is still in critical, but stable condition. The sheriff’s office said he is in contact with investigators.
Sheriff Grady Judd says it appears the motive for the murder was robbery. The sheriff said Reiss was a collector of firearms, and that his suspected killers made off with up to 31 firearms, including guns and pistols.
“These folks that chose to commit this murder and robbery knew there were guns there,” said Sheriff Judd. “These guns aren’t going to be purchased by Sunday school teachers. These guns will go back to the streets with other thugs and other criminals and other robbers. That’s why we have to get these folks off the street and recover the firearms.”
The victims’ neighbors say the men kept to themselves for the most part. “We’ve seen em in the yard. We’d wave, but as far as chit-chatting, no, you could tell on your neighbors if they like that sort of thing and I didn’t think they did we just waved,” said Gail Gaugh who lives down the street.
The sheriff believes someone knew the men were buying and selling firearms and came with the specific intent of robbing them.
Video surveillance from a number of locations nearby shows a black Chevrolet Sedan (possibly Sonic LT) in the area minutes before the incident occurred. Shortly after the incident, around 1:40 p.m., the same vehicle can be seen traveling with Reiss’ vehicle northbound on Commonwealth Avenue North.
“We have an unknown amount 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 anyone else.” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.
Anyone with information on the crime should call 863-298-6200. To remain anonymous and to be eligible for a $3,000 reward, call Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS. To submit a tip via the web, visit http://www.p3tips.com or download the “P3Tips” mobile app.
Do not attempt to interact with these suspects, as they are armed and dangerous, the sheriff’s office said.
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