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Hillsborough deputies arrest 'sovereign citizen' twice in 24 hours

TAMPA — Deputies have arrested a "sovereign citizen" twice in 24 hours after, they say, he threatened people on different occasions with guns.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office first came across Eric C. Holtgard, 27, of New Tampa, about 3 p.m. Wednesday, after he drove to the Rivard Buick GMC dealership on Adamo Drive.

Deputies say Holtgard got out of his car and started yelling at employees and customers in the dealership's lot. He then pulled a Glock .45 -caliber handgun from his waistband and pointed it at a customer, saying several times that he was going to kill the man, deputies say.

Holtgard spotted deputies pulling into the parking lot and fled in his dark blue 2006 Scion. Deputies pulled him over a short time later at Lumsden and Lithia Pinecrest roads.

They arrested Holtgard and searched his car, where they said they found several loaded firearms, including an assault rifle and two handguns, as well as ballistic plates, ballistic ammunition and paperwork advising he was exempt from government law.

Deputies believe he is a "sovereign citizen," a term used by people who believe federal, state, and local laws do not apply to them, nor do taxes or any other instruments of the government.

Holtgard gave deputies consent to search his apartment in Tampa Palms, at 17101 Carrington Park Drive #423, and deputies say they found a tactical shotgun, Glock handgun and 32 magazines and ammunition. Those items were impounded.

Holtgard has a valid concealed weapons permit, the Sheriff's Office said.

Authorities took him to the Orient Road Jail and booked him on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and possession of armor-piercing .50-caliber ammunition. He was released on bail at 2 a.m. Thursday.

Then, about nine hours later, at 11:30 a.m., a lawn maintenance man called 911 and said a man carrying a rifle with a scope — and wearing only boxer shorts — came out of 3822 Buckingham Loop Drive and began screaming at him, telling him he was not allowed to park on the curb in front of the house.

When deputies arrived, they found Holtgard. They arrested him again.

Detectives then seized additional firearms, including several assault rifles from the Buckingham Loop address, which is where Holtgard's mother lives.

Holtgard was once again transported to the Orient Road Jail, this time on one charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

He'll remain in jail longer this time because on Thursday afternoon, Circuit Judge Chet Tharpe revoked Holtgard's bail.

Times news researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at jvandervelde@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3433.

Hillsborough deputies arrest 'sovereign citizen' twice in 24 hours 11/21/13 [Last modified: Thursday, November 21, 2013 6:30pm]
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