Classic Florida Man, stealing cars and taking police on wild chases through the streets. This instance involved a stolen van and the suspect jumping off a bridge into a Florida river after taking the police on a 100 mph chase.
This Florida Man stole his aunt’s van after a 12-year jail sentence
The Florida Man in this situation is Bryan Gray, 34, out of Fort Myers, Florida. Wink News says Gray had been in prison for 12 years but recently got out of jail in October, during which time he has wreaked havoc on the Florida town. Marcella Chacon allowed Gray into her home to take a quick shower when he took full advantage of the situation.
Chacon’s van was in the driveway while Gray was in the home. “Because of previous incidences, he was not allowed to stay with me at all because he’s homeless and my husband called me, actually he texted me and told me the van was ‘missing,'” Chacon told Wink News.
A ring doorbell caught Gray on video packing up the van with stolen goods from the home. After that, he took some Lee County Sheriff’s deputies on a wild goose chase. Since his aunt had reported the van as stolen, Gray and the van were located relatively quickly.
Florida Man tried to jump off a bridge to freedom after crashing the stolen van
Upon making contact with Gray, the Florida Man promptly crashed the stolen SUV along the Edison Bridge over the Caloosahatchee River. The video above shows the moment the vehicle crashed into the side of the bridge. After that, Gray decided he had no other choice but to jump off the bridge. The video footage shows him getting out of the van and climbing over the guard rail.
Gray jumped into the Caloosahatchee River and attempted to swim to safety. The Fort Myers Police Department’s Marine Unit was able to arrest him at that point, seeing as he was trapped in the middle of the water. The suspect was charged with Grand Theft Auto as well as Fleeing and Eluding.
How can you avoid getting your car stolen?
Consumer Reports has a few tips to avoid being put in a situation where your car might get stolen. The first tip is to practice smart parking. “Never leave your unattended vehicle unlocked or running, and try to park in busy, well-lit areas,” says Crystal Clark of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. In this instance, it would have been a good idea to hide the keys to the vehicles in the driveway.
Consumer Reports suggests having a working alarm system, too. Steering wheel locks can help prevent others from stealing the vehicle or deter people from pursuing the theft. Having security lights facing the driveway can potentially scare off thieves. Like the Ring Doorbell system used here, security cameras are an excellent way to keep an eye on vehicles if you can’t be home. If all else fails, it can help identify the suspects after the fact.
Don’t forget, insurance companies can offer a discount for vehicles with anti-theft devices. Don’t be caught with Florida Man taking your stolen van on a joyride anytime soon.