Wolchek Investigation: Cold case of dead Hall of Shamer

There are two open homicide cases in Royal Oak. The Oakland County child killer case in the 1970s and the murder of businessman Gary Lupiloff.

A quiet street in Royal Oak looks much the same today as it always has -  peaceful and safe. But this street is where a Lupiloff was executed in broad daylight and the crime is unsolved.

In 1999 Rob Wolchek investigated him for cheating people in a car business he ran. Gary Lupiloff was a scam artist.  An attorney who lost his license for cheating clients.

Shortly after Wolchek put him in the Hall of Shame, Gary Lupiloff went to prison for fraud.

When he got out, he started calling himself Gary Harmon, moved into a house in Royal Oak and began running a sign business, Screen Source Media.
  
The now-Gary Harmon appeared to be a successful businessman. But a leopard can't change his spots.  Gary Harmon Lupiloff continued to make enemies and presumably one of those enemies killed him in a calculated, brazen murder.

Exactly five years ago on July 13, he murder happened outside in his driveway. Gary was talking on the phone when a single shot rang out.  

The shooting happened in the afternoon on the 2700 block of Ardmore.

Royal Oak police say the killer was behind Lupiloff's house chipping golf balls at a school.  When Lupiloff appeared in his driveway, the killer moved by a tree, pulled a rifle out of his golf bag, aimed and fired.

Gary Lupiloff was dead from a single gunshot wound through the heart. The bullet passed through his body and ended up in a pile of mulch across the street.

A composite sketch of the suspect was released. He was described as 5 feet, 8 inches tall driving a black crossover vehicle or possibly a bicycle. That was about all there was for a year.

Then a lawsuit revealed the name of a man who had 500,000 reasons to want Lupiloff dead. The lawsuit is between Nationwide Life Insurance, the surviving Lupiloff family and a man named William Keene and his wife.

It reads "Nationwide says that the Royal Oak Police Department informed it that William Keene is a prime suspect in Lupiloff's murder."

So who's Bill Keene?  Wolchek spoke with him on the phone last week. 

In 2003, Bill Keene loaned Lupiloff $130,000 in a business deal involving Lupiloff's sign company. But Lupiloff never paid him back.

Keene says, as a business precaution, Lupiloff took out a $500,000 life insurance police and made Keene the beneficiary. 

At the time of the murder, Keene was paying the premiums. Two days after Lupiloff's death, Keene tried to collect on the policy.
  
Soon, a three-way legal fight was on between Nationwide, who didn't want to pay a man police called a suspect, and the Lupiloff family who challenged some changes on the policy.

After years of wrangling, an out-of-court settlement was reached.  The terms are confidential.  
   
As for the criminal investigation, nothing is settled.  It's a cold case.

Is this the perfect murder?  It will be until police have the killer, whomever that may be, behind bars.

"We are asking the public for help," said Lt. Dave Clemens of the Royal Oak Police Department.  "If there's anything that you can offer please contact us,.the special investigations unit with anything that could help with this case."

Keene told Wolchek that he has a solid alibi and only found out about Lupiloff's death when he saw it on FOX 2. He also claimed to not know about Lupiloff's shady past until seeing Wolchek's report after Lupiloff was killed.

It is not common to take out an insurance policy on someone not related to you. Keene told Wolchek at the time it was a business decision one that Lupiloff came up with.

The police are saying they will talk to anyone who has information on the murder.

The Royal Oak police number is (248) 246-3500.

 

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