Image: Robert W. Grigelaitis
Portage County Sheriff's Office
Robert W. Grigelaitis, 59, of Florida, was arrested in connection with the murder of Andrew VonStein.
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 9/29/2010 10:34:46 AM ET 2010-09-29T14:34:46

A fugitive task force has arrested a man being sought in the fatal shooting of an Ohio real estate agent who was found shot to death in a vacant home he was trying to sell.

The body of prominent real estate agent Andrew VonStein was discovered last week with a single gunshot wound.

Pete Elliott, U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Ohio, said 59-year-old Robert Grigelaitis was arrested Tuesday night at a rest stop in Turkey, North Carolina, about 70 miles north of Wilmington.

Grigelaitis has addresses in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and in Ravenna in Portage County, northeast Ohio, near the house where VonStein's body was found.

VonStein was the second of two real estate agents killed in a week in that region. Authorities believe the killings are unrelated.

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The violence prompted frightened real estate agents in northeast Ohio to cancel open houses and avoid meeting prospective buyers alone .

The Akron Beacon Journal in Ohio reported Grigelaitis was walking toward his pickup truck when he was arrested. Grigelaitis did not put up a struggle, the newspaper said.

Handgun to be tested
Law enforcement sources told the Beacon Journal that Grigelaitis had a .45-caliber handgun and authorities were expected to carry out tests to see if the gun had fired the bullet which killed VonStein.

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''This is the result of a strong partnership between the Portage County sheriff, the Portage County prosecutor and the U.S. Marshal's Office. That's what brought this guy to justice,'' said U.S. Marshal Pete Elliott, who heads the fugitive task force, according to the paper.

''I'm very pleased,'' Sheriff David Doak said after he was told of the arrest, which took place about 615 miles from the crime scene, the newspaper said.

A link between VonStein and Grigelaitis regarding the purchase of a house in Ravenna in 2002, which was later foreclosed, was detailed in court and property marketing records, the Beacon Journal said.

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The newspaper said the records showed VonStein was the agent in the sale, while Grigelaitis, his wife Shirley, the sheriff's distant cousin, Richard Doak Jr., and a man and woman were each listed as defendants in the foreclosure action filed in 2008.

Grigelaitis lost his home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to foreclosure in 2009, according to court records, the Beacon Journal said.

VonStein was the former president of the Ravenna Area Chamber of Commerce, the paper added, and a married father of two.

It said Sheriff Doak declined to comment on whether the foreclosure on the Ravenna house was the motivation for the shooting.

Before the arrest, Portage County Sheriff Lt. Gregory Johnson had warned Grigelaitis was considered to be "very dangerous," the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.

"This was not a spur-of-the-moment killing," he said, according to the paper. "It was very calculated."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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