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HomeLocal & StateGas station customers foil parking lot carjacker

Gas station customers foil parking lot carjacker

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A Spring Hill man already on probation for grand theft auto is facing new charges after attempting to steal vehicles from the parking lot of the Circle K gas station at 6227 Deltona Blvd. in Spring Hill.

According to Hernando County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) Media Relations Manager Denise M. Moloney, deputies were dispatched to the gas station just after 1 p.m. on March 10 after a 911 caller reported that a man was trying to steal cars there.

At the scene, deputies were told that when a man and his son pulled into the gas station parking lot they saw a man standing outside the convenience store there. Since his son was in the passenger’s seat, the driver left his Hyundai Elantra running while he entered the store.

When he exited the vehicle, the man, later identified as Timothy Holbert, 30, entered the car on the driver’s side, asked the passenger “Wanna go for a ride?” and then began to back the car out of its parking space.

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When the passenger tried to push him out of the vehicle, Holbert punched him several times in the face and attempted to wrap the seat belt around his neck. During the altercation, the passenger was able to shut the car’s engine down.

The driver of the car saw the altercation through the window, rushed out of the store, and pulled Holbert out of the vehicle.

Holbert then tried to enter a locked, unoccupied Chevrolet Avalanche that was parked nearby. In his attempt to enter the vehicle, Holbert pulled on the driver’s door handle and broke it.

From inside the store, the owner of the Avalanche saw the carjacking attempt and asked a store employee to call 911.

A third gas station customer used his phone to record the events as well as images of Holbert as he fled the scene.

Patrol deputies and the HCSO K-9 unit joined the search for Holbert, who they identified from the phone video as a man they had encountered during earlier incidents.

Shortly before 4:30 p.m., a 911 caller reported seeing Holbert in the area of Shannon Avenue and Freeport Drive. Deputies who were in the area searching for him located Holbert and placed him in custody.

Holbert, who was on parole for felony grand theft auto, was charged with violating that parole as well as with carjacking, false imprisonment, conveyance burglary, and grand theft auto.

He is being held at the Hernando County Detention Center.

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