A Leesburg man is accused of falsely reporting his vehicle was stolen from the parking lot of an internet café on Sunday.
Joseph Young, 38, of 2709 Snowden Lane, told a Leesburg police officer he was driving home from a friend’s house in his 2015 Honda CR-V and he stopped at the Fire Spin internet casino, located at 2606 South St. Young said while he was at the casino, he got a message that his dog was having puppies, according to the police report.
Young told the officer his phone battery was going dead and he didn’t have a charging cord, so he left his vehicle in the parking lot to walk home. He said he left his keys in the car when he departed. Young said when he returned to the casino to pick up the vehicle, it was gone. He estimated the car’s value at about $20,000, the report said.
The officer told Young he found it odd that he would leave the car in the parking lot and walk home instead of driving. Young said he wasn’t thinking clearly and just wanted to get home. He also said he stopped at a friend’s house before returning to the casino, according to the report.
While helping Young complete the stolen vehicle affidavit, the officer warned him that filing a false report is a misdemeanor crime. The Honda was entered into the stolen vehicle database, the report said.
Shortly after leaving Young’s residence, the officer received a call from a Lake County sheriff’s deputy that the stolen Honda had been found and a suspect was in custody near the intersection of Montclair and Thomas roads. When the officer arrived at the scene, the woman who had been driving the Honda was handcuffed. She told the deputy and officer that she had been hanging out with Young earlier that day and that he loaned her the car about 10:30 a.m. so she could check on her disabled son, according to the report.
The woman said she dropped Young off at the Seven Star convenience store, 2006 W. Main St. She said she started receiving texts from Young telling her to drop the car off at the Fire Spin casino, but she didn’t feel comfortable doing so. The woman showed the officer and deputy nearly 100 texts from Young on her phone, the report said.
The officer then contacted Young, who came to the car’s location. After Young signed the receipt for his vehicle, the officer read him the Miranda warnings and Young agreed to speak with him. He said he had no idea who the woman standing a few feet away from him was. When the officer started reading the text messages from the woman’s phone, Young admitted to loaning her the car. He also admitted he never left the car parked in the casino parking lot.
The Washington, D.C., native was charged with filing a false police report and taken to the Lake County Jail, where he posted $1,000 bond.