[PHOTO CREDIT: Marion County Sheriff’s Office]
[Original Publish Date: 10/12/20]L
EUSTIS, Florida — A armed carjacker who fled from multiple law enforcement agencies was apprehended Thursday in Marion County, according to public records.
Shortly before 3:30 a.m. Thursday, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a victim of an armed carjacking. LCSO responded to the 38000 block of County Road 44A in unincorporated Eustis and met with the 68-year-old victim who told them a woman he knows contacted him via Facebook messenger and told him she was broke down on County Road 44A. He went to the location to assist her and was accosted by a man later identified as Harry Aroian, 33. The victim recognized Aroian as the woman’s boyfriend, he told LCSO.
Aroian, who had an unidentified man with him, put a black pistol in the victim’s face and demanded he exit his 2011 Cadillac SUV. One of the men struck the victim in the face with an unknown object and jumped in the SUV. They fled the scene, attempting to hit the victim as they left, he told LCSO.
The victim refused medical treatment and was taken home. While LCSO was interviewing the victim, Mount Dora Police saw the stolen SUV travelling southbound on State Road 46 and attempted to pull it over, but cancelled, according to an incident report.
About half an hour after the carjacking, a sergeant with Eustis Police Department spotted the gold Cadillac travelling westbound on County Road 44. EPD initiated a traffic stop after it failed to yield and the SUV continued into Grand Island where LCSO deployed stop sticks, according to the report. The suspect struck stop sticks and continued onto U.S. Highway 441 speeding in excess of 80 miles per hour through Leesburg, Fruitland Park and into Lady Lake.
More stop sticks were deployed at U.S. Highway 27 and County Road 466 near The Villages and three of the SUV’s tires were punctured. The SUV kept going and entered Marion County around 4:15 a.m. and several patrol vehicles were also damaged by stop sticks.
The SUV’s front tires were destroyed and Aroian was driving on rims until he lost control and crashed on North Pine Avenue in Ocala. Aroian tried to flee the scene again and an LCSO deputy blocked his path, according to the report. He bailed out of the SUV and Ocala Police and Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputies assisted with searching for him; a K-9 apprehended Aroian as he tried to break into another vehicle.
An LCSO deputy tried to identify Aroian through fingerprints, but his hands were “extremely filthy,” the report states. Aroian was transported to Ocala Regional Hospital by emergency medical services and appeared to be under the influence of a stimulant when LCSO tried to speak with him. It is unknown whether the stimulant was self-induced, or if it was something given to him by health professionals, the deputy noted in the report.
Aroian was arrested for armed carjacking and fleeing and eluding. He was transported to the Marion County Jail, where he is being held on no bond.
Our Editor-in-Chief, Marilyn M. Aciego, began writing for Lake Legal News in 2010. Born and raised in Lake County, she is a graduate of Umatilla High School and Lake-Sumter State College. She started her journalism career at LSSC, where she was editor of both student publications, The Angler and The Odyssey. Her professional career began at the Daily Commercial in 2004 where she covered cops and courts the majority of her time there until she left in 2009. Currently, along with being Editor-in-Chief of Lake Legal News, she is the Florida bureau chief for an international media organization. She has made more than two dozen appearances on live national television, including Nancy Grace and the Greta Van Susteren show, along with her appearance on Evil Twins. Contact her with breaking news, tips, and feedback by sending an e-mail to 352Tips@gmail.com. You can also contact us on our Facebook page — and make sure you “Like” and “Follow us” there. [PHOTO CREDIT: Bonnie Whicher]