35-year-old cold case re-opened after new DNA developments

Brinks offering $10,000 reward
Posted at 1:24 PM, Feb 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-03 17:23:46-05

The St. Petersburg Police Department is re-opening a murder case from 35 years ago thanks to new DNA developments. 

On Jan. 23, 1982, two men dressed as "Miami Elevator" repairmen and pretended to be working on the elevators at Robinson's Department store at Tyrone Square Mall.

A Brinks armored truck was scheduled to make a pick up. Shortly after 3:00 p.m., as the Brinks employee was opening the door to leave the store with a deposit bag, the two men confronted the Brinks worker, Joseph Warner, and shot him once.

Warner, of Tampa, died from the gunshot wound. He was a 22 year military veteran who had worked for Brinks for seven years. Warner left behind a wife and five school-aged boys.  His widow said the arrest of the people responsible won't bring her closure.

"If they know they did wrong then that's between them and god," said Mary Warner.

The getaway van, stolen from the Orlando area, was dumped at the Jungle Prada Boat Ramp, where the suspects boarded a rented boat.  A fraudulent Canadian license was used to rent the boat. Ironically, they used the identity of a Canadian beat cop.

When they realized the deposit bag contained no cash ---only non-negotiable checks---they threw it overboard near Madeira Beach Elementary.  Then, they abandoned the boat near the Clearwater Causeway.

This case received widespread attention and was profiled on the show "America's Most Wanted". The suspects were described as two white men, one in his late 20's and one in his 40's (50's and 70's now). One witness described them as "handsome".  While investigators pursued several suspects over the years, none panned out.

The St. Petersburg Police Cold Case Squad recently re-opened the case, and DNA developments have moved the case forward significantly.

Brinks is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a person or persons in the murder of Joseph Warner.

Anyone with information should call 893-7780 or text SPPD + tip to TIP411.