A man from New Hampshire was arrested in Florida last week after allegedly stealing a group home transportation vehicle with a wheelchair-dependent non-verbal passenger inside.
On January 31, the driver of a group home van had a passenger who uses a wheelchair. The man is also non-verbal.
While the driver was en route to the destination, he reportedly pulled into the parking lot of a St. Lucie liquor store around 2:00 PM. The vehicle was reportedly left running while the man went into the business. The passenger remained in the van.
According to reports, a man who is currently without permanent housing had been sleeping behind the building. He was still on the premises, and he reportedly noticed the running vehicle.
The man reportedly wanted to leave Florida and go back to New Hampshire, and he allegedly decided to take the van since the opportunity presented itself.
It was reported that the man did not realize anyone was in the vehicle when he drove away from the liquor store, and the passenger, being non-verbal, was unable to let him know.
When the man noticed the passenger, he pulled over and left the vehicle and passenger in an open area so he would be found quickly.
Someone discovered the van and the man inside about two hours after it was allegedly taken. They notified the Lucie County Police Department to let them know about the situation.
The suspect interacted with the police earlier that day, and one of the officers believed it was the same man because they dropped him off in the location from which the van was taken.
After finding the suspect on social media, the authorities sent him a private message urging him to bring the van back.
The man willingly met with the police and told them what happened.
He was taken into custody and booked into the St. Lucie County Jail. He is accused of grand theft of a vehicle, and abuse of a disabled adult. He is being held on a $10,000 bond.
The driver employed by the group home was also booked into the St. Lucie County Jail on suspicion of neglect of a disabled adult. He is being held in lieu of a $2,500 bond.
If you or someone you love is suspected of a criminal offense, contact Orange County criminal defense lawyer Staycie R. Sena at (949) 477-8088 for a consultation now.