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3 Men Hunted in Slaying Linked to Wheels' Theft

Public's help is sought in tracking down suspects in the killing of a man who police say was targeted because of his expensive car rims.

June 25, 2003|Richard Winton | Times Staff Writer

Police appealed for the public's help Tuesday in capturing three men who investigators believe killed a man in Hollywood last month for the expensive wheels on his 1999 Lexus automobile.

"These are cold-blooded killers who wanted his car and they wanted his rims," Los Angeles Police Det. Vicki Bynum said. "They're a bunch of thugs who had an opportunity to take something and took it."

The family of the victim, Ryan James Groetken, 25, of Long Beach, appeared with police to ask for help. Last week, when police found the stolen car in a Ridgecrest, Calif., garage, the rims were gone. A set of flashy rims such as those on Groetken's Lexus, which spin when the car stops, can run as high as $18,000. Police believe those rims may now be on a Green 1991 Infiniti Q45 with California license plate 5ARR145.

"I just hope they capture them so they don't hurt anyone else," said a relative of the victim.

Arrest warrants for murder have been issued for Dane Edward Woodson, 19, Garet Watson, 24, and Jamar Cornell Nunally, 20, LAPD Det. Michael Thrasher said.

The three men are believed to have confronted Groetken about 2:50 a.m. as he was parking his Lexus in the 1800 block of Cherokee Avenue, Thrasher said. The men demanded Groetken's keys and he complied, police said.

Nonetheless, Thrasher said, one of the men shot Groetken with a handgun.

Authorities said the car was recovered after a tip from Ridgecrest police and that several search warrants and surveillance led detectives to identify the three suspects. The men are described as armed and dangerous.

None of that matters to the family and friends of Groetken. Said Jarrett Ramirez: "Ryan was a friend, a brother and a son and the victim of a senseless crime."

A $25,000 reward was offered for information leading to the capture of the suspects. Anyone with information is asked to call detectives at (213) 485-6410 or after-hours at (213) 485-4302.

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