Store owner attacked, kidnapped; wife shot in Greenville Co.

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GREENVILLE Co., S.C. (WSPA) — Deputies say the owner of  a grocery store chain was attacked and kidnapped and his wife was shot by five masked men.

Sergeant Ryan Flood, a spokesman with the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, said W.E. Willis — the owner of W.E. Willis Grocery store — was at the business between 4 and 5 a.m. Tuesday before the store opened. Willis was reportedly in the parking lot when he was met by five masked men, who brutally attacked him.

The suspects then forced Willis into his car and drove to his home in Travelers Rest.

Flood said when deputies arrived at Willis’ home, they found Willis and his wife tied up in the home. His wife was also found shot.

Willis and his wife, Patricia Ann Willis, were both taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Patricia Willis was in critical condition as of Tuesday afternoon.

Willis’ home on Sweetgum Road was ransacked and the suspects reportedly left in Willis’ car.

Flood said the vehicle has since been located, and said that various items were taken from both the store and the victims’ home.

According to Sgt. Flood, deputies were first called to the store after an employee showed up for work and found the store, located on Highway 414, in disarray, and reported it as a possible robbery around 5 a.m.

Flood said a motive is not yet known, but said they believe this was an isolated incident.

No suspect descriptions were given.

The sheriff’s office asks that anyone in the Green Valley Community that has surveillance cameras to check their footage between 4 and 7 a.m. Tuesday. 

“The fact that these people are not apprehended, of course, is disturbing to us and, of course, we want to get them apprehended as soon as possible,” Flood said. 

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 864-23-CRIME.

The daughter of the victims says there is a $25,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of the those responsible.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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