COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - In just a week, the reward for information in a murder has gone from $1,000 to $13,000. Local businesses are coming forward to add to a reward fund for information leading to an arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the robbery and murder of local businessman Steve Toms.
Gold and Silver Trading Center owner Bob Upchurch told News Leader 9, "People who do these things love to talk and somebody out there knows something."
Their company slogan says if you give them your gold, they'll give you cold hard cash, now they are making the same offer on any information about the robbery and murder of Gold and Silver Trading Center manager Steve Toms.
Crime Stoppers has offered up $1,000 for information in the crime and the store's owner Bob Upchurch has added $10,000 to that reward. He said, "I wanted to try and help the case any way I could and it's a known fact that cash can help people's memory and bring an end to this terrible tragedy."
Now other business owners in the community are stepping in to help. Mizer Money owner Robbie Whitten says he is contributing $2,000 of his money to help the fund, "If we can get this fund raised up as high as possible, hopefully some of the other pawn shops and jewelry stores and community leaders will pitch in and we can get enough money so we can get some information."
And they expect other companies to come forward and help. Upchurch said, "I can promise $12,000 already from the pawn shop family in Columbus and it's going to grow, there will be more before we see the end of this."
Whitten added, "It's time for the businesses to come together to try to put a stop to all this craziness and the best way to do that in my opinion is to throw some money at them. Somebody out there needs some Christmas money and this will get someone talking."
Even though they are competing businesses, Upchurch says he is overwhelmed by the support of others in the community, "It's astounding, the overwhelming response of condolences for this man. It's a real tribute to the life he led and how good he was at his job. He was the best, the very best."
Police are still asking if anyone has information on this crime, to please call them at (706)653-3400. You can remain anonymous and still collect your reward.