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Friday, August 5, 2022

Dog taken into custody after Leesburg man arrested hiding in boat

Jess Roark
Jess Roark

A Leesburg man, accompanied by his dog, was arrested late Friday night at Ernie’s Marine in Tavares.

The owner of Ernie’s Marine and some friends had returned to the store around 10:30 p.m. and saw a man run from the lot, leaving a dog behind. Tavares police responded to the location and began to search for the suspect. The owner showed the police a pull-behind cart which had several items, including a tackle box and fishing equipment, that had been removed from boats on the property.

The officers noted in their report that “a red medium-haired dog was politely sitting, as if waiting for its owner.”

As the officers searched the premises, they came upon a boat where a man’s legs were sticking out from the side console of the boat. The suspect had to be removed from the boat by two officers. The man was identified as 48-year-old Jess Roark of Leesburg. Roark was charged with burglary to an unoccupied conveyance and grand theft from a conveyance. He was booked at the Lake County Jail. He was released after posting $10,000 bond.

His dog, Buddy, was turned over to Lake County Animal Control. 

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