The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office (SCCSO) confirmed earlier this week that a dead body discovered in the Santa Cruz Mountains, CA, was 50-year-old tech executive Tushar Atre. On Tuesday morning, authorities responded to a call that perpetrators had breached Atre’s home and kidnapped him. Authorities later discovered a missing vehicle owned by Atre’s girlfriend nearby, and eventually found his body close to the vehicle’s location.
At this time, authorities have not released any information on possible suspects or potential motives, and the investigation is ongoing. There is some speculation that the perpetrators intended to rob Atre or use him for ransom; however, this has not been confirmed. Investigators are currently monitoring numerous suspects in connection to the kidnapping and exploring any potential ties between the perpetrators and Atre. It remains unknown whether the kidnappers intended to harm Atre after kidnapping him or if other factors played into his death. Authorities have not commented on how many individuals may have witnessed the incident; however, the department received a call as kidnappers were removing Atre from his residence. Additionally, the SCCSO has not publicly disclosed how Atre died.
Atre is the owner of AtreNet, a web design company founded in 1996 that markets itself to Silicon Valley corporate businesses. Atre previously worked with well-known corporations including Itron, Signal Sciences, Rainforest, and GitLab. Last year, Atre entered the cannabis industry and started a manufacturing company. In employee and customer reviews of AtreNet, multiple individuals left negative comments pertaining to the company and its leadership, especially its management style. It remains unclear if any of the negative sentiment surrounding Atre is connected to his death, but authorities are investigating all possibilities.
Although details are still emerging in the case, there is speculation that Atre may have been targeted for his financial wealth or that the attack was in some way related to his business. Overall, the majority of reports suggest this was not a random act, even though that is still a possibility. High profile individuals may be sought after for a variety of reasons, and the likelihood of targeted acts against them such as robberies, kidnappings or other types of physical harm needs to be considered.
There are reports that Atre was an active social media user and that pictures of his home were available online. Often times high profile individuals also post about their upcoming plans, travel, and social engagements on social media. It is important to note that this type of information can be utilized by perpetrators to learn more about an individual and assist in a targeted act against them, serving in an even similar way to pre-operational surveillance of a target. Executives and other high profile individuals should be aware of their public exposure online and how any information they are posting can also be exploited in a nefarious way.
Additionally, understanding vulnerabilities at the homes, businesses and other residences of high profile individuals and executives provides an additional component to security for not only themselves but also their families. It is relevant to determine the risks at their locations and then put in place the proper security measures to protect against those potential threats to allow for a complete, layered physical security approach. These tools, coupled with other measures such as armed operatives or 24/7 protection, can provide a much more robust and effective security program.