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Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Deputies use GPS to find stolen vehicle and arrest suspected thief

Cruze Antonio Cromwell
Cruze Antonio Cromwell

A 29-year-old Tavares man is behind bars for allegedly stealing a car from a home in Leesburg.

Cruz Antonio Cromwell, of 15499 Old Hwy. 441, was charged with grand theft auto. He’s being held in the Lake County Jail on $2,000 bond.

At around 5:30 a.m. Monday, a Lake County sheriff’s deputy responded to a residence on Rancho Road, where a woman reported her Honda C-HR had been stolen sometime during the previous 12 hours. The victim said she had the main vehicle key but that her house was recently burglarized and the spare key must have been taken then, according to the sheriff’s office report.

The victim said her newly installed security cameras did not show anything. She said the vehicle was equipped with a GPS tracking device and the approximate location was a residence on County Road 48 in Okahumpka. The victim provided a link to screenshots of the vehicle’s location since it left her property, the report said.

Deputies responded to the Okahumpka address and spoke with the residents, who said the vehicle was behind the house. They said that Cromwell picked them up in the vehicle at around 3 a.m. and taken them to an internet casino. The residents said Cromwell left them there and they got another ride home. They said when they arrived back at their residence, Cromwell was already there with the same vehicle he had been driving earlier. Cromwell then left on foot, according to the report.

Deputies searched the area and spoke with an attendant at the gas station at the corner of U.S. Hwy. 27 and CR 48. The attendant said Cromwell had been there within the last 30 minutes. Dispatch advised deputies that contact had been made with Cromwell the previous evening in the southwest Umatilla area and he was wearing flip flops, dark sweatpants and no shirt, the report said.

A deputy found Cromwell walking near the corner of CR 48 and Catherine Street. He said he had gotten the car from another male on Rancho Road. Cromwell started coughing heavily and Lake County EMS was called to take him to the hospital in Leesburg. Once medically cleared, Cromwell was taken to jail without incident. He’ll appear in Lake County Court on June 6.

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