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Friday, August 5, 2022

Ocala teen accused of stealing pickup truck, handgun

A 17-year-old boy was arrested by the Ocala Police Department after he admitted to stealing a pickup truck and a firearm that was inside the vehicle.

On Friday, July 29, two Ocala Police Department officers responded to the intersection of NE 3rd Street and E Silver Springs Boulevard in reference to a Chevrolet pickup truck that had been reported stolen. Upon arrival, the male victim who owns the truck told the officers that his handgun was also inside the vehicle.

According to the victim, he was working outside and noticed the 17-year-old suspect who was walking eastbound on the sidewalk along E Silver Springs Boulevard. The victim stated that he went inside to grab a towel, and when he returned outside, his pickup truck was gone.

The victim told the officers that he had left his keys inside the pickup truck and the passenger’s side door had been left unlocked.

Approximately 40 minutes after the vehicle theft occurred, and while the officers were still on scene with the victim, another OPD officer reported over the radio that the stolen vehicle had been located near State Road 326 and U.S. 441.

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The stolen truck was spotted near State Road 326 and U.S. 441 (Photo courtesy of the Ocala Police Department)

While traveling northbound on U.S. 441, the officer observed the teen suspect behind the steering wheel as the stolen vehicle traveled in the southbound lane. The officer turned around and followed the stolen vehicle into the nearby CVS Pharmacy parking lot.

According to OPD, the suspect exited the vehicle and fled on foot. After ignoring the officer’s verbal warnings to stop, the officer’s K-9 partner was released and the suspect was quickly apprehended. He was then transported to a local hospital for treatment of a dog bite he had received.

While speaking with OPD, the suspect admitted to stealing the pickup truck. He stated that while he was driving the vehicle, he saw the officer turn around to follow him, and he then proceeded to pull into the pharmacy’s parking lot where he attempted to run away.

OPD located the victim’s firearm in the “path of travel” that the suspect had taken while attempting to escape.

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The victim’s gun was found on the ground in the area where the suspect was apprehended (Photo courtesy of the Ocala Police Department)

When asked about the firearm, the suspect stated that he found the handgun in the truck and he placed it into his waistband. He advised that the firearm must have fallen out while he was running.

After the suspect was discharged from the hospital, he was arrested by OPD. He is facing felony charges for grand theft of a motor vehicle, grand theft of a firearm, and burglary of a conveyance while armed, among other charges.