Police want help solving executive's murder

March 11, 2008 12:46:15 PM PDT
A supermarket executive was killed in his home over the weekend, but police in Berks County offered few clues Monday about whether the slaying appeared random or targeted.

Gary W. Redner, 55, helped his family run Redner's Wholesale Markets, a regional chain founded by their father. Police believe he was killed between 7 p.m. Saturday and 6 a.m. Sunday.

Redner served as executive vice president of the Reading-based company, which operates 39 grocery stores and a dozen convenience stores.

"My son was extremely popular. If he had an enemy, I don't know who he was," father Earl Redner, 82, said Monday. "He was probably the most popular person in the company, and that includes me."

Earl Redner, now retired, said he last spoke to his son Saturday from Charleston, S.C., where he lives part-time. Gary Redner seemed in good spirits and did not voice any particular concerns, his father said. They did not discuss his son's plans for the day.

Gary Redner, who was divorced with two adult children, was found dead Sunday at his stately red brick home in Lower Heidelberg Township. He lived alone, according to his father.

An autopsy was performed Sunday, but police did not disclose the cause of death.

"He was a very gregarious man. We would like to think that anyone who knew him professionally or personally, and may have some kind of direction or suggestion, that they would contact us," said Lt. Thomas McDaniel, who runs the criminal investigation unit at the state police barracks in Reading.

He declined to say whether there was a break-in at the home or if anything was missing, and would not say who discovered the body.

"We don't want to expose anything that would undermine investigators," McDaniel said.

Gary Redner was the company's executive vice president of procurement and director of wholesale operations. His brother, Richard E., also of Lower Heidelberg Township, serves as president, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of directors.

Gary Redner's son, Gary M., joined the company in 2001 and directs wholesale operations while Richard's son, Ryan, is chief operating officer, a company spokesman said.

Gary Redner is also survived by a daughter who does not work in the family business, spokesman Eric B. White said.

Redner's has about 4,000 employees. The company, which added the family name to Earl Redner's independent markets in 1979, operates stores in eastern Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York state.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)