The reward is now up to $13,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the robber who fatally shot Columbus Gold and Silver Trading Center manager Steve Toms on Nov. 15.
Robbie Whitten, owner of Northside Money Mizer Pawn & Jewelry, said Thursday that he has added $2,000 to the $10,000 the Gold and Silver Trading Center is offering.
Columbus Crime Stoppers is offering its usual reward of up to $1,000 for information that cracks the case.
Toms’ daughter Robin Sanders confirmed Wednesday that Bob Upchurch, who owns the Gentian Corners business where the 63-year-old store manager was found shot to death the morning of Nov. 16, is offering 10 grand.
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Tipsters may call Crime Stoppers at 706-653-3188 or the Columbus Police Department’s investigative bureau at 706-653-3400.
Whitten said he hopes others in the jewelry business will contribute to the reward fund, to help get whoever killed Toms off the street. It would show criminals that businesses here work together to protect themselves, he said.
Whitten said he had known Toms for 25 years and respected Toms’ integrity.
Toms’ body was discovered about 8:45 a.m. Nov. 16 when Upchurch arrived at the 3717 Gentian Blvd. business and found it unlocked. Inside he saw Toms on the floor with a loaded, cocked gun beside him. Toms’ weapon apparently had not been fired.
Toms had been shot multiple times, police said.
Upchurch said an empty cash tray was on the counter and some gold chains were missing. He suspected the robbery and homicide happened the previous evening. Toms had spoken by phone to a relative at 5:33 p.m., and typically the manager would have removed jewelry from a display case and put it in a safe about 15 minutes before the shop closed at 6 p.m., Upchurch said. That jewelry was still out the morning Upchurch found Toms’ body.