Sterling Heights cold case: Search for answers continues in Laith’s Candy Land killings

2 men found shot to death days apart inside warehouse in 2017

Investigators are still trying to figure why two people were murdered at Laith's Candy Land in Sterling Heights back in 2017.

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. – Investigators are still trying to figure why two people were murdered at Laith’s Candy Land in Sterling Heights back in 2017.

Sufian “Samuel” Saba, 51, was found shot to death Nov. 27, 2017 in the office of Laith’s Candy Land, a candy and nut wholesaler off of Mound Road in Sterling Heights.

The owner of Laith’s Candy Land was Sam Saba’s younger cousin, 26-year-old Laith Anki. Anki was also then shot to death inside the business five days later.

These mysterious murders remain unsolved years later.

“I think about it every single day,” said Sterling Heights police Det. Natalie Abram. “We obviously have lots of theories on why this happened, but at this point in the investigation we just can’t narrow it down.”

The two men were cousins, although Anki called Saba his uncle -- they were that close. They opened the candy distribution center in 2017. They specialized in Middle Eastern candy, spices and more.

On Nov. 27, 2017 both men were in the story but Anki left for a few hours.

“Two individuals pulled up in a pewter colored Suburban, entered through the rear of the business -- we believe the door was unlocked at this time -- went in and they located Sam in the front office of the warehouse and they shot him repeatedly,” said Abram.

Anki returned less than an hour later and found Saba dead, shot several times. Then five days later presumably the same two shooters came back when Anki was inside. They shot him several times, too.

“It did absolutely change everything. First, you’re stunned that this happened again at the same place five days later. Now you kind of knew these individuals were definitely targeted,” said Abram.

Another piece of evidence that proves the two murders are connected are the guns used. In the first murder two guns were used. In the second murder, the killer used one of the guns that was used in the first murder.

Surveillance video also revealed a third person was involved. The video from outside the building shows a getaway car repositioning while Anki was being killed, showing the driver was the third person involved.

“Nobody can really ever keep their mouth completely shut, so I am confident that other people that were not involved do have information,” said Abram.

Evidence photos from the scene show what little evidence there is -- casings, rounds, holes in the drywall. Investigators don’t believe anything was stolen.

Were both men the target or did the killers shoot the wrong man the first time?

“We’ve toyed around with the idea, was Laith the original target and Sam in the wrong place at the wrong time? Or was Sam the original target, or were both? We just don’t know at this point,” said Abram.

Abram and her colleagues have spent countless hours on the case, conducting more than 100 interviews. There were no business enemies nor money owed that they can find. They do want to find whomever killed the men, for their families.

“Not that it’s going to bring their loved ones back, but hopefully it brings them a little closure,” said Abram.

Crime Stoppers is offering a $2,500 reward in each murder for information that leads to an arrest -- 800-SPEAK-UP.

About the Author:

Nick joined the Local 4 team in February of 2015. Prior to that he spent 6 years in Sacramento covering a long list of big stories including wildfires and earthquakes. Raised in Sterling Heights, he is no stranger to the deep history and pride Detroit has to offer.