Police urge 'gas and dash' suspect to turn himself in
Published Monday, September 17, 2012 9:07AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, September 17, 2012 9:40PM EDT
Police are urging the suspect who is wanted on a second-degree murder charge in a fatal “gas and dash” incident to turn himself in.
Investigators are calling on 39-year-old Max Edwin Tutiven to contact a lawyer and turn himself over to authorities.
They say Tutiven, who is wanted in connection to the death of a Toronto gas station employee, was known to police.
Gas station employee Jayesh Prajapati, 44, was killed Saturday evening after attempting to stop a driver from fleeing the gas station without paying -- a practice commonly referred to as “gas and dash.”
According to police, Prajapati was struck by a car and dragged, after trying to stop a man from leaving the station with more than $112 worth of gas.
“Our suspect didn’t stop, but in fact struck the victim and dragged him for a distance,” Const. Courtney Chambers said on Sunday.
An autopsy revealed that Prajapati died of multiple blunt force trauma injuries, police said on Monday.
A call for safer work environments
Community members hosted a candlelight vigil for Prajapati on Monday evening.
MPP Mike Colle attended the vigil and said he will push for better protections for gas station workers.
“We need to get everybody in the provincial legislature to look at potential remedies,” he said. “I’m optimistic we can come up with some concrete improvements to protect the safety of these vulnerable workers.”
Premier Dalton McGuinty also said he would look into ways to make workplaces safer for station attendants.
"Our thoughts are with the victim's family and the gentleman who lost his life in such a tragic and unfortunate way," McGuinty said Monday.
"I think one of the things we owe that family and that gentleman in particular is to take a long hard look at lessons that we may draw from this."
Last year, a 62-year-old Petro-Canada employee in Mississauga died after confronting a man attempting to leave the station without paying, a crime colloquially referred to as a “gas and dash.” A 22-year-old man was later charged in the death and theft of $75 worth of gas.
A statement released by Shell Canada said the company was “saddened by this senseless loss of life” and were praying for the family and friends of the victim.
“Shell’s top priority is the safety of staff and customers, and under no circumstances are sales associates or any other retail employee to intervene during criminal activity,” the statement read.
The deadly cases have prompted some to call for mandatory pre-payment at all gas stations, said CTV’s Ashley Rowe.
Stations where you can only pump gas after pre-paying for it are already the norm in British Columbia and in parts of the U.S., said Rowe.
Police seek suspect
Police describe Tutiven as a white male with a dark complexion, and said he is about 5’5” and weighs between 220 and 230 pounds.
Tutiven is believed to be driving a 2000-2003 silver or beige four-door Isuzu Rodeo, which may have stolen plates attached to it.
The vehicle also likely has front-end damage as a result of the incident.
Police ask that anyone with information contact police at 416−808−1300 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416−222−TIPS (8477).
With a report from CTV Toronto’s Ashley Rowe and files from The Canadian Press