HANOVER, Md. (WJZ/AP) — An arrest was made in the death of a real estate sales representative who was killed inside a model home Wednesday evening.
Steven Wilson, 33, was working inside a model home in the Shipley’s Homestead community in Hanover when someone killed him just after 5 p.m.READ MORE: Jury Notices To Be Sent Out Friday In Capital Gazette Murder Trial
Anne Arundel County Police said 18-year-old Dillon Nicholas Augustyniak of 7800 block of Clark Road in Jessup is being charged in the murder of Wilson.
Augustyniak was arrested Friday morning at a home in Baltimore City.
Police said he fatally shot Wilson during a robbery. Augustyniak allegedly stole Wilson’s phone and laptop.
Augustyniak was charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery, theft and use of a firearm in a violent crime.
Charging documents reveal Augustnyiak shot Wilson with a long gun and then stole his cell phone and laptop.
Police are not releasing a picture of the suspect for now.
Officials credit the public for helping them solve the case.
“Thank you to the community and the Hanover-Jessup area for coming forward and giving us the missing puzzle pieces, we would not have gotten this done in 31 hours without you,” said Tim Altomare, AACO police chief.
A search of the model home and surrounding areas was conducted by air and dogs, and Anne Arundel police say they identified “multiple pieces of evidence” throughout the night.
The family issued this statement to WJZ on Friday:
“Police notified us early this morning that a suspect has been taken into custody. We are incredibly grateful for the efforts of investigators who have tireless worked non-stop to find the person who killed Steven Wilson. The outpouring of love and support from friends and total strangers has been overwhelming. Hundreds of people who knew Steve have offered comfort and solace during this difficult time.”
A source told WJZ there were cameras inside the model home that captured the suspect. That source also says the suspect came from woods behind the home, first trying to enter from a back door before entering through the front. Then, the suspect fled into the woods behind the house.
Police won’t release information on the murder weapon or a description of the suspect or suspects. They say Wilson was working inside the home alone at the time.
Police said Augustyniak lives behind a wooded area that is walking distance to the model home where Wilson was shot and killed.READ MORE: Downtown Partnership Releases Annual State Of Downtown Baltimore Report
Thursday, police searched Augustyniak’s home in the 7800 block of Clark Road, where they found a firearm consistent with the one used in Wilson’s murder and the one shown in surveillance footage.
“I heard a loud bang and my neighbor, me and him came outside and we thought we heard a shotgun,” said Brian Frazier, a neighbor in Jessup.
Frazier heard the commotion when police were searching for Augustyniak.
“I’m just getting scared, it’s unreal, I’m glad they got this boy, I can’t believe it but you never know who you’re living next to,”
The slaying worried nearby residents living in the kind of suburban properties Wilson sold for his employer and it rattled real estate agents who work open houses.
“We have no indication that other model homes or real estate offices are going to be targeted, I think it was impulse met opportunity in this case,” Altomare said.
Tanisha Ashford, who sells homes from her base in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, said she was taking extra precautions in the wake of the slaying in the model home. She said she’s “always on guard” when showing properties and uses a smartphone safety app marketed to real estate agents. She also always tells her husband where she’s working if he can’t accompany her.
“Most times he goes with me when it’s new clients, especially if a male,” Ashford said.
Bob Johnston, CEO of the Anne Arundel County Association of Realtors, said Wilson was not a licensed real estate agent, but a builder’s representative tasked with selling the company’s model homes.
“It’s still a real estate-related thing, there’s no question about it. And we’re extremely concerned and putting that out to our members because it could have been one of them,” Johnston said in a phone interview.
Other real estate agents and home sellers across the country have become victims of deadly violence over the years. In 2003, a man tortured two female real estate agents in Cobb County, Georgia, before he shot both in the head. In 2006, a North Carolina real estate agent was found fatally stabbed in a McKinney model home by a house-hunting couple. But Johnston said this was the first time in recent memory he can recall such a violent act in the coastal swath of Maryland where he works.
“There have been a few close calls and stuff like where people have had a real bad feeling about something, but nothing along these lines,” he said, adding that self-defense trainings for staffers have become commonplace in the real estate industry.
Augustyniak is being held without bond.
A GoFundMe page was started to help pay for education expenses for Steven’s two young children. You can click here to donate.Struggling Concert Venues Still Waiting On Federal Aid Promised In COVID-19 Relief Package
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