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4 accused of stealing ATVs, bikes

A deputy in hiding helped catch four men trying to steal all-terrain vehicles and motorcycles from a motel near Interstate 75 on Sunday, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.

One of the men tried to escape in a truck pulling a trailer and carrying a 2-year-old child, a sheriff's report stated.

The man, Robert Louis Dove, 42, of Ocala, drove more than 100 mph while being chased through Ridge Manor, the report stated. He was arrested in Sumter County and charged with grand theft, child abuse, and fleeing and eluding law enforcement officers.

He was being held in the Hernando County Jail on Monday in lieu of $20,000 bail.

The Sheriff's Office stationed Deputy Scott Card in the parking lot of the Best Western Motel on State Road 50 because several motorcycles and ATVs had been stolen from the area, said Lt. Joe Paez, Sheriff's Office spokesman. The motels are commonly used by people who ride motorcycles and ATVs in the Withlacoochee State Forest.

Card, in an unmarked patrol car, watched as a pickup truck drove into the parking lot about 1:30 a.m., his report said.

A man got out of the truck and cut the lock that secured a trailer loaded with ATVs to a pickup truck; he also cut the lock of an enclosed trailer and handed a bag holding a motorcycle helmet and other equipment to another man, who put it in the truck.

A Ford pickup truck with an ATV in the bed arrived a few minutes later, Card's report said, and then left pulling a trailer with an ATV and at least two motorcycles. Card alerted other deputies and they tried to stop the truck as it drove east on SR 50. The driver ignored the lights and sirens and "accelerated to speeds in excess of 100 mph, swerving and at times taking up all lanes of traffic in an attempt to elude the units behind him," the report said.

Dove turned left on U.S. 301 before pulling over south of Bushnell, where deputies found the child and the child's mother in the truck with him, the report said.

The three other men Card saw in the parking lot were arrested without a chase. Two of them, Christopher Cross, 19, and Terry Price, 20, are from Tampa. They told deputies they had recently met the third man, Ernest Sendoya, 25, of Thonotosassa at a strip bar in Brandon, and that Sendoya persuaded them to help steal the vehicles.

All three were charged with burglary of a vehicle, possession of burglary tools, grand theft and criminal mischief. All have been released on bail from the Hernando County Jail.

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