OCALA (CBSMiami/AP) — Witnesses described a paraplegic man stealing a vehicle from an Ocala car dealership and leading officers on a brief chase as something you would see in the movies.
He was arrested by police a short time later Wednesday when Bradford County Sheriff’s deputies spotted him at a gas station.
According to police, the man went to Ford of Ocala to purchase a vehicle. A salesman showed him around and he decided on a white 2009 Pontiac G6.
Police say the salesman helped the man into the car so he could see how the car felt. But once inside, he locked the doors, turned on the vehicle and put the end of a folding cane on the gas pedal. He drove away from the lot.
“It was unbelievable, only in the movies,” Anselmo “Chico” Barreto, who has worked at the dealership for 11 years, told Ocala Star-Banner.
The dealership notified police and the Marion County Sheriff’s Office. The deputies pursued the car to the Alachua County line. Deputies in Alachua County picked up the chase until they decided not to follow him any longer. Eventually, deputies in Bradford County saw him putting gas in the car.
He’s charged with driving with a suspended license and is facing a possible charge of grand theft auto.
It’s not the first time the dealership has been in the news. The newspaper reports that three years ago, six vehicles were destroyed by fire when a Ford Escape was brought in by an owner who’d received a recall notice relating to a fire hazard. And in November, two new trucks were stolen.
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