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Saturday, January 14, 2023

Ocala man arrested after being caught driving stolen U-Haul pickup truck

A 28-year-old Ocala man was arrested after he was spotted driving a U-Haul pickup truck that had been reported stolen.

On Monday, January 9, shortly before 1:30 p.m., a Belleview Police Department officer responded to Summerfield Sales located at 11655 U.S. Highway 441 in Belleview in reference to the theft of a U-Haul rental truck.

Upon arrival, the officer made contact with the owner of the business who advised that on November 29, 2022, a man identified as Joshua Thomas Pelis had rented a white 2022 Chevrolet Silverado bearing an Arizona tag. The rental truck was supposed to be returned on December 6, 2022, according to the BPD report.

Joshua Thomas Pelis
Joshua Thomas Pelis

The owner advised that Pelis’ phone number had been confirmed via text at the time of the rental. After Pelis failed to return the vehicle on December 6, the owner told the officer that U-Haul’s corporate office made multiple attempts to contact Pelis.

On December 7, U-Haul attempted to contact Pelis over the phone and the call went straight to his voicemail. U-Haul printed a certified demand letter, which was delivered to Pelis on December 23, and another attempt to contact Pelis over the phone resulted in a busy signal, according to the BPD report.

Shortly after 10:25 a.m. on Tuesday, January 10, a Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputy observed the stolen U-Haul Chevrolet Silverado truck, and a traffic stop was conducted on the vehicle. The driver and sole occupant was identified as Pelis, and the key to the stolen vehicle was found in the right front pocket of his pants.

Pelis was arrested, transported to Marion County Jail, and he was later released on $2,000 bond. He is facing a felony charge for grand theft of a motor vehicle.

A court date has not been scheduled yet, according to jail records.