COPS: Ocala Man Under Surveillance In Suspected Truck Thefts Caught Hiding In Woods, Surrendered

The Published Reporter, Jessica Mcfadyen, February 25, 2022.

OCALA, FL – Multiple Ocala Police officers and Marion County Sheriff’s Office deputies worked together arresting Dwayne Rutherford, 36, for multiple felony charges, including grand theft of a motor vehicle, grand theft of a firearm, attempted auto theft, and others.

On February 19, Ocala Police Officer Whitston responded to a call concerning a victim’s truck that had been stolen from a hotel parking lot in SW Ocala. Inside the truck were multiple valuable items, including a handgun. Additionally, the truck had an out-of-state license plate. Detective R. Williams was assigned to investigate this case.

On February 21, MCSO’s Lt. Curtis was conducting surveillance on Dwayne Rutherford concerning a separate criminal case that occurred in the county. Lt. Curtis observed Rutherford driving the truck, however, the out-of-state license plate was swapped out for a Florida plate. The following day, Lt. Curtis saw Rutherford driving the truck once again.

On February 23, 9-1-1 Dispatch informed our detectives about an MCSO call regarding a suspicious truck parked nearby a property within the county. Ocala Police Sergeant Buetti and Det. R. Williams responded to the scene and found the stolen truck abandoned and none of the valuable items or the handgun were inside the truck.

On February 24, Officer K. Gonzalez responded to a medical facility in SW Ocala about an attempted auto theft. The victim said that when he came out of the business, he saw a man, later identified as Rutherford, inside his truck, attempting to hot-wire the vehicle. The victim could see the ignition popped out and wires exposed. When he yelled at Rutherford, he ran away toward SW 22nd Pl. Several other officers, including an MCSO K-9 and helicopter unit arrived to search for the thief.

Air 1 found Rutherford hiding in the woods and he eventually surrendered. The victim and another witness were able to confirm that Rutherford was the man attempting to steal the truck. When Det. R. Williams interviewed Rutherford, he admitted to stealing the other truck from the hotel parking lot days earlier. Rutherford was arrested for multiple felony charges.

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