Pasco Man's family believes he was murdered over a cell phone - WFLA News Channel 8

Pasco Man's family believes he was murdered over a cell phone

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ZEPHYRHILLS, FL (WFLA) -

It's been nearly three weeks since Dane Cody Prater was run over in a Zephyrhills strip mall parking lot. He was 25 years old. Family members have put up a 7-thousand dollar reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the driver responsible. That's in addition to 3-thousand dollars Crimestoppers has already put up.

While the Florida Highway Patrol is classifying this as a hit and run investigation, Prater's family believes he was killed for his cell phone."These guys, I think they targeted him." Said David Prater, his older brother. "Like they were in the parking lot and thought, hey there's a guy texting on his cell phone lets stop by and see if we can grab that. Take off with it. And being the person that he is, I know him, he's thinking oh my God, I just bought this let me hold on to it. No, it's not worth it. "

The family may be on to something. The Federal Communications Commission says cell phone robberies make up 30 to 40 percent of all robberies. It's even got a name: Apple picking. Authorities say they're seeing more of it because it is easy picking. "Cell phones now are going for $400 to $600 dollars." Said Corporal Craig Hall with the Orange County Sheriff's Office. "Here are phones they can use or sell and make quick money"

The highway patrol is not saying if it believes Prater was killed over a phone, but authorities say this is still a very active investigation, and they're asking for anyone with any information to come forward. You can also remain anonymous by calling Crimestoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS.

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