A 45-year-old homeless woman was arrested by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office after she broke into a local business and stole a pickup truck.
On Thursday, MCSO deputies responded to Ron’s Towing located at 7450 NW Gainesville Road in Ocala in reference to a commercial burglary that had occurred overnight. Upon arrival, the deputies observed that the chain link gate appeared to have been run over and the glass front door of the business was shattered, according to the MCSO report.
The business owner’s son showed deputies video surveillance footage from earlier that morning, which showed a suspect walking around the fenced yard at 3:35 a.m. The MCSO report stated that the suspect was observed entering a 2013 Chevrolet Cruz for several seconds. Upon exiting the vehicle, the suspect smashed the front glass door of the business.
The sheriff’s office stated that the suspect proceeded to step inside the business for several seconds and then briefly entered a 2021 Volkswagen SUV. After exiting the SUV, the suspect approached a 2004 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck ($10,000 value), which had a flatbed trailer attached. A large jackhammer ($10,000 value) was also inside the trailer.
According to MCSO, the suspect was observed driving the truck through the locked chain link gate, which partially knocked it off the hinges and caused approximately $500 worth of damage. The trailer was still attached to the truck as the suspect drove away from the business.
The deputies were informed by the business that several keys had been removed from a board that was inside the building that the suspect had entered.
While deputies were investigating the incident, a woman approached one of the deputies and began talking about a sinkhole. She was identified in the report as Teresa Lee Ball.
The deputy noted in the report that Ball spontaneously stated that she had taken a truck from the business because she was “being followed by an unknown man and was afraid.” The deputy observed that Ball was wearing the same clothing as the suspect in the surveillance footage.
Another MCSO deputy located the stolen trailer just south of the business in the 7100 block of NW Gainesville Road. The pickup truck belonging to the business was still missing.
After being read her Miranda rights, Ball stated that she was scared because she had seen numerous sinkholes in the area. She then claimed that an MCSO deputy had spotted her the previous evening when she “lit a mattress on fire by the railroad tracks,” but the deputy drove away. Shortly afterwards, Ball stated that she saw “poles and buildings shaking” at the business.
Ball further advised that she “needed a vehicle to get out of the area.” She admitted that she approached the business, climbed the fence, and searched for a vehicle to take. She then advised that she used a rock to break the glass door so she could get the keys to a vehicle.
When Ball began driving away from the business in the stolen pickup truck, she stated that she initially intended to visit a family member. She advised that she quickly changed her mind while driving down the road and decided that she did not want to take the vehicle.
According to the MCSO report, Ball informed the deputies that the stolen pickup truck was located at the intersection of NW 66th Street and NW 26th Avenue. The vehicle was recovered at that intersection by the deputies.
When the pickup truck was returned to the business, MCSO was informed that multiple items were missing from the vehicle, including a chainsaw ($1,800 value), electric grease gun ($300 value), and two flat-screen stereos ($300 value/each).
Ball was arrested and transported to Marion County Jail where she is currently being held on $27,000 bond. She is facing felony charges for unarmed burglary of an unoccupied conveyance (four counts), grand theft of a motor vehicle (two counts), and grand theft (over $10,000 but less than $20,000), along with a misdemeanor charge for criminal mischief with property damage (over $200 but less than $1,000).
A court date has not been scheduled yet, according to jail records.