DA Hopes Sedan Helps Crack Business Owner's Murder

Joe Canazaro, 48, was shot & killed during a home invasion at his Hilltown Township home

More than a month ago home invaders gunned down a business owner invasion inside his Hilltown Township home. Today, The Bucks County District Attorney's Office released surveillance video showing a vehicle they believe was involved in the Jan. 18 crime.

The video shows a red 2004 to 2008 four-door Nissan Altima or Maxima, possibly with a discolored right front fender, pulling up to Joe Canazaro’s stolen black Lincoln pickup truck behind a Quakertown grocery store -- after the sedan approaches both cars back up to a dumpster. The video then jumps to a man appearing to leave the pickup truck and get into the passenger side of the sedan before it pulls away.

Hilltown Township Police say that two armed men tied up Canazaro's girlfriend and 12-year-old son in the basement of the sprawling rented home on Swartley Road, killed Canazaro and then took off in his truck with bank books and weapons. Canazaro's girlfriend and son were able to get free and run to a neighbor's house for help. Canazaro's other son was away at school when the break-in happened.

Around 3:30 that January afternoon, police found Canazaro's pickup truck at a Friendly's restaurant on West Broad Street in Quakertown. They towed it away and searched a nearby dumpster.

"The residence here was targeted," said Police Chief Chris Engelhart at the time of the incident. "This is not a random act."

Police believe the motive was robbery. Investigators said that Canazaro owed millions to creditors.

"It's a very involved, very complex to look at those records, to figure out exactly where the money came from and where it went," Engelhart said.

Bankruptcy records show Canazaro defaulted on loans, owed money to casinos and bounced large checks.

"It's page after page of people he borrowed money from or owed money to. What starts to go off in your mind about, 'Could it be one of these?!' Well, certainly that's one of the avenues we're pursuing," Engelhart said.

Canazaro was the co-owner of Finn McCool's Tavern in Ambler, according to NewtownPatch.com. The tavern was closed for months following a wall collapse but the day before Canazaro’s murder they posted on their Facebook page that they were now hiring for all positions.

Anyone with info on Canazaro’s death or who might recognize the sedan in the surveillance video is asked to contact Hilltown Twp Police and the Bucks County Detectives at 215-453-6011.

Contact Us