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GPD: man stole and crashed GRU truck; claimed to be a hostage victim

Published: Jan. 20, 2020 at 11:17 AM EST
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A Gainesville man was arrested Sunday after police said he crashed a truck that he stole from Gainesville Regional Utilities and told police he was being held hostage.

According to the arrest report, Gainesville Police said they responded to a crash on Southwest Williston Road and South Main Street.

The driver, Joel Gonzalez Jr., 20, told police “I was taken, held hostage, held against my will, taken to a cement company, I stole a truck, and I struck a vehicle prior to seeing your flashing lights and came to you for safety.”

GPD contacted GRU where they learned the truck was stolen from the Main Street Water Reclamation facility. Surveillance video showed Gonzalez riding a bike into the facility, getting into an unlocked truck and running through a gate as he left with the truck.

Gonzalez said he found the keys in the center console according to the report. The damage to the facility was estimated at $5000 and the damage to the truck was estimated at $10,000.

Gonzalez was charged with burglary, grand theft and criminal mischief. He was booked at the Alachua County Jail with no bond currently set.

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