FF12 Investigation: Detectives believe murdered restaurant owner knew his killer
Newly released video shows moments before Chuck Giles was killed
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The owner of a popular neighborhood bar and grill in Wichita was gunned down in his driveway, robbed and left for dead. Those closest to him say they believe the killer is someone who knew him well. Detectives agree.
It was a typical Friday night for Neighbor’s Bar and Grill owner Charles “Chuck” Giles in July 2019. He closed up the restaurant and stopped by the grocery store to pick up supplies for the next day’s breakfast rush. It was his usual routine according to those that knew him well, or those who just knew him at all. Neighbor’s had a long list of regulars and long-time employees. It wasn’t tough to know where the owner, who was described as a “kind-hearted” and “a people person,” would be at any given time. He was a creature of habit.
Wichita Police Detective Robert Chisholm described what happened after Chuck left the grocery store that night. Unthinkable for most people, except for those who investigate homicides or those who set out to commit them.
“When he arrived home, a person came up, shot him multiple times, and we believe stole...money,” Detective Chisholm explained. “What happened was somebody here decided to rob Charles.”
When Detective Chisholm says, “here.” He means Neighbor’s Bar and Grill. A place where those who frequented and worked at the restaurant were more family than customers. Chuck’s longtime girlfriend Connie Schrader worked as a waitress at Neighbor’s.
“He was a hell of a guy. He would give the shirt off (his) back. He really would,” Schrader said. “Neighbor’s was just like, the ‘Cheers’ bar. Everybody was family. Just about everybody knew each other.”
The comparison to the NBC sitcom “where everybody knows your name” may have been true. There were employees who’d worked there for years, customers who came by even more for the sense of community than for the food, even a regular named “Norm,” but that’s where the similarities ended. Because on that warm summer evening, investigators believe someone in that little community murdered Chuck Giles for a motive that boils down to nothing more than sheer greed.
Connie Schrader was asleep inside Chuck’s home when he was shot just outside. She thought the noises she heard came from Chuck knocking on the window. Maybe he’d had trouble getting the garage door open, she thought. It didn’t always work right, so she went outside to find him, and she did. He was lying beside his car, the window shattered, the ground covered in blood. Connie called 911 pleading for help that would soon arrive but too late. Chuck succumbed to his injuries soon after, but before he was taken away Connie thought to check for something she knew should be there. A wad of cash Chuck often carried in his pocket after closing down the restaurant for the night. It wasn’t there, and Connie was far from the only person who knew it should have been.
“The only thing I saw was a penny laying there on his jeans,” Connie said. “I knew right there, it was going to be a robbery.”
A robbery by someone Detective Chisholm said knew that Chuck was a creature of habit.
“He had a habit of taking the money from the cash register with him in his pocket,” Chisholm said. “Somebody that knew his routine, knew where he would be and when he would be there and went to his house and waited for him.”
The theory that someone was waiting for Chuck when he arrived home that evening is more than just a theory because the people responsible were captured on security video. A camera attached to a home just a few doors down captured the whole thing.
Just after 10:00 p.m., a car drove past Chuck’s home and turned around before stopping in front of the house. A man got out of the car, crossed the street to Chuck’s home and then waited. The car then speeds off and moments later Chuck Giles is attacked.
Investigators say the man driving the vehicle was a Hispanic man with a beard. The man who they say shot and killed Chuck Giles was also Hispanic.
“The person walked up to him shot him multiple times, took money and then ran down the street,” Chisholm explained. “We have witnesses. We have people that saw some things that help us to understand that.”
Two suspects. Not just one. A driver and a murderer. Two suspects that, both investigators and Chuck’s friends and family believe, are well known to the people within that small Neighbor’s Bar and Grill community.
“The two individuals that are involved in this are known to people that work here (Neighbor’s). They’re known to other people. They’ve talked to people, they showed up with money, and all of a sudden, went on a spending spree. Something along those lines,” Chisholm said.
“It had to be somebody that knew him. For the simple reason, if he didn’t know him, then why did they kill him? So, I think it’s someone that knew him and knew his pattern,” Connie Schrader added.
Rumors spread about who could have murdered the much-loved restaurant owner. Theories were formed by the regular customers and employees who worked there. A Crime Stoppers reward was offered with even more money added by members of the community. Chuck’s son-in-law tells Factfinder 12 he’s now putting up $5,000 of his own money for any information that leads to an arrest and conviction.
So, here are the clues to consider: Two men, police say are Hispanic - one with a beard - took part in the shooting that took place just after 10:00 p.m. on Friday, July 19, 2019. At least one of those men was possibly familiar enough with Chuck Giles to know where he lived, when he’d be home and that he’d be carrying cash.
Detectives believe whoever murdered Chuck would have shown a need for money around that time, or would have appeared to come into money shortly thereafter, possibly buying something expensive, going on a spending spree or having solved their need for money.
Anyone who believes they have information that may help solve the case could be eligible to receive both the Crime Stoppers reward and the reward being offered by Chuck Giles’ family. Investigators say they want to talk to that person. If you have those details, contact Crime Stoppers at 316-267-2111 or online.
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