Update: see previous post – June 30, 2015 Joshua Cody Mitchell Charges Upgraded to Murder in Calgary Gas-and-Dash Death
Max Edwin Tutiven sought in 2012 death of gas station attendant Jayesh Prajapati
Three years to the day gas station attendant Jayesh Prajapati was killed trying to stop a gas-and-dash theft, Toronto police have taken the unusual step of offering a $25,000 reward for the man wanted in connection to his death.
Prajapati, 44, came to Canada from India in 2006 with his wife and son. He held a master’s degree in chemistry but was unable to find work in his field. He supported his family by working at the Shell gas station at the intersection of Roselawn Road and Marlee Avenue, near Eglinton Avenue West and Allen Road.
Just after 9 p.m. on Sept. 15, 2012, police say Max Edwin Tutiven, 39, of Toronto drove an Isuzu Rodeo up to the pumps, filled the vehicle’s tank and some containers with $112.85 in gas before trying to flee without paying.
When Prajapati tried to stop him by standing in front of the vehicle and raising his arms, he was run down.
“The driver then accelerated … running him down and dragging him down the street,” said Toronto police Det. Sgt. Stacy Gallant at a news conference Tuesday. “He then fled the scene, making no attempt to stop.”
The Isuzu then left the gas station and was last seen heading west on Roselawn.
Prajapati suffered serious injuries and later died in hospital.
Police were able to quickly identify Tutiven as a suspect in Prajapati’s death, but have so far been unable to arrest him.
“He has remained a free man for three years,” said Gallant. “It’s time for that to come to an end. He has been able to avoid authorities and is on the run.”
Prajapati’s death inspired a bill in the Ontario legislature that would require gas station owners to provide safety training for workers, suspend licences of people convicted of gas theft and implement pre-payment at some stations.
Suspect may be in western Canada, or Quebec
Tutiven is wanted on several outstanding warrants. Police believe he is most likely in the Montreal area, or another location in Quebec. He may also be in western Canada or could have fled to Ecuador, where Gallant said he has roots.
Gallant said police will pay up to $25,000 for any information that leads directly to Gallant’s arrest.
“We know that money is a motivator,” he said. “Imagine that, you can make that amount of cash for one phone call to police. We know that there are people out there who know where Max is.”
Police have posted this security camera footage of Tutiven filling up his car moments before Prajapati was struck.
Gallant said anyone who is helping Tutiven could face prosecution.
“Anybody that knows Tutiven knows that he is wanted for this murder,” said Gallant.
Police re-released the following description of Max Edward Tutiven, who is 39 years old:
- White, with a dark complexion.
- Overweight build, between 220 and 230 pounds.
- About five feet five inches tall.
- Brown eyes.
- On the night of the Prajapati’s death, Tutiven had a full beard and moustache.
Police are also looking for the SUV they say Tutiven was driving that night: a silver or beige, four-door Isuzu Rodeo that may have stolen plates attached to it.
Police are asking anyone with information about Tutiven or the vehicle he was driving to call them.
They also want to spread information about the crime on Twitter using the #turnmaxin hashtag.