UPDATE: Two subjects were apprehended by Eustis Police Department on Nov. 6. Jaylen T. Dawkins, 22, of Mount Dora was charged with Grand Theft Auto, Fleeing & Attempting to Elude, and DWLS. Makai S. Budd, 19, of Mount Dora was arrested and charged with loitering and prowling. A third subject is being sought.
At approximately 1:30 a.m. on Sunday, a patron was carjacked at gunpoint after leaving a downtown Mount Dora restaurant. The incident happened on Edgerton Court near the Lawn Bowling Club.
As the victim got into his car, the door was yanked open and he was told to get on the ground by an unknown man. The victim emptied his pockets and grabbed the barrel of the gun, but quickly complied after realizing there were two additional unknown men behind the suspect. The suspect is believed to be a Hispanic male approximately twenty years old, 5’9” tall with a thin build.
After laying on the ground, the victim heard people flee on foot and then heard his 2007 Volkswagen start and travel north on Donnelly Street. He then returned to Magical Meat Boutique to call the police because he had turned his cell phone over to the suspect.
Later, some property from inside the car was recovered scattered near the roadway and grassy area. Early this morning the car was recovered in Eustis.
“The City, as always, will evaluate the area which could include a change or addition of lighting or even tree trimming to help improve the safety of our citizens and property,” said Robin Hayes, Mount Dora's city manager.
Carjacking is a crime of opportunity, typically occurring when drivers are parked or anywhere they are slowed down. Intersections, parking garages and parking lots, gas stations, ATMs, and driveways are common locations for this type of crime.
Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the risk of being a victim:
Park in a well-lit space.
Avoid isolated parking lots.
Be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Do not park near a dumpster, van, big tree or other obstruction to your vision.
Don’t walk to your car alone.
Be alert, walk tall, with a mission and with your keys in your hand.
Look inside your car before entering.
Do not be distracted or looking at your cell phone while walking to your car.
Beware of any stranger approaching for any reason.
Lock your car doors upon entering and drive away.
At intersections, always leave enough space to maneuver away.
In the rare instance you are faced with an armed carjacking, give up your car freely. Life is much more important.