Toys R Us murder suspect to appear in court

Oct 18, 2013

The 38-year-old Elma man charged with murder will appear in Hamburg Town Court Friday morning.  Bernard Grucza was arrested Wednesday and charged with second-degree murder in the death of his co-worker, 35-year-old Larry Wells, at the Toys-R-Us story in Hamburg.

Toys R Us in Hamburg
Credit WBFO News file photo

Wells, the store's assistant manager, was stabbed to death in June. 

"There's still more rocks to overturn," said Hamburg Police detective Scott  Kashion. "There's more interviews to conduct.  More investigation to be done without specifically saying what they are."

Kashion tells WBFO News initially Grucza was not a suspect.

Grucza was actually photographed at the crime scene consoling other Toys-R-Us workers following the murder. He was the loss prevention manager at the toy store -- and provided the surveillance video to police. Detective Kashion saying, "criminal returning to the scene of the crime" was over the top in this situation.

"He responded to it as part of his job duties," said Kashion.

Grucza took a leave of absence from his job and investigators had a difficult time locating Grucza -- while other co-workers gave DNA samples -- it took police months to track him down. 

Two weeks before the murder Grucza was charged in a domestic violence incident with his wife. She had placed an order of protection against him.  

Grucza is expected to appear in Hamburg Town Court at 10 a.m. Friday.  He is being held at the Erie County Holding Center without bail. 

A motive remains unknown at this time.

"The motive isn't really clear at this point," said Kashion. "There's a lot of theories as to how or why it happened, as for him telling us why it happened, but as for him telling us why he didn't, that didn't happen."