A 29-year-old man on felony probation was arrested in Ocala after he was caught driving a sports utility vehicle that had been reported stolen.
On Sunday, July 31, at approximately 4:30 p.m., a Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputy responded to the 900 block of SW 17th Street in Ocala in reference to a stolen Jeep Liberty SUV that was traveling in the area.
The deputy spotted the SUV near the intersection of SE 32nd Street and SE 3rd Avenue. The driver and sole occupant of the vehicle was later identified as Matthew John Gebert.
According to the MCSO report, a second deputy observed the SUV and attempted to conduct a traffic stop at the intersection of SW 7th Avenue Road and SW 17th Street. Gebert refused to stop the vehicle and a pursuit was initiated.
Gebert continued southbound on SW 7th Avenue Road, turned westbound on SW 17th Street, and then turned onto SW 12th Avenue. The deputy who had initially responded to the 900 block of SW 17th Street once again spotted the SUV as it was turning.
The deputy pursued the SUV as it traveled onto SW 20th Street, turned northbound onto SW 7th Avenue, traveled on SW 10th Avenue, and then turned westbound onto SW 3rd Street. During the pursuit, the deputy confirmed that the SUV had been reported stolen out of the Jacksonville County Sheriff’s Office.
When the SUV was near the 1600 block of SW 3rd Street, Gebert was observed jumping out of the vehicle, and a short foot pursuit ended when an MCSO deputy and K-9 partner apprehended him. The MCSO report indicated that Gebert dropped a clear glass tube during the foot chase, and a brown substance inside the tube later field-tested positive for cocaine.
The interior of the SUV was searched and an aluminum wrapper was found inside the cup holder. The wrapper contained a white crystal-like substance that also field-tested positive for cocaine.
After being read his Miranda rights, Gebert informed MCSO investigators that he had borrowed the vehicle from his friend, the vehicle’s owner, on July 30. He advised that he came down to Ocala to visit a friend, and he did not inform the owner of the SUV that he was taking the vehicle.
Gebert denied ownership of the cocaine and drug paraphernalia.
A computer check of Gebert revealed that his driver’s license is suspended and he is on active felony probation.
Gebert was arrested and transported to AdventHealth Ocala for treatment of a dog bite that was sustained when he was apprehended by the deputy and K-9 partner. He was later medically cleared and transported to Marion County Jail where he is currently being held on $15,000 bond.
Gebert is facing felony charges for fleeing and eluding a law enforcement officer at high speed, grand theft of a motor vehicle, and possession of cocaine. He is also facing misdemeanor charges for possession of drug paraphernalia, resisting an officer without violence, and driving with a suspended license (second or subsequent offense).
A court date has not been scheduled yet, according to jail records.