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Man carjacked HART van for ride from Ruskin to Wimauma, deputies say

Roberto Allen, 36, jumped into the vehicle and threatened the driver, according to deputies. He was arrested at a gas station in Wimauma.

RUSKIN — A van typically used to transport people with disabilities around Hillsborough County was carjacked Wednesday morning by a man who demanded the driver take him to Wimauma, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputies said

The Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority van was at a shopping center on the 3000 block of E College Avenue in Ruskin when Roberto Allen, 36, insisted the driver take him to another location, deputies said.

Roberto Allen, 36, was arrested Wednesday in connection with the carjacking of a transit van in Ruskin.
Roberto Allen, 36, was arrested Wednesday in connection with the carjacking of a transit van in Ruskin. [ Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office ]

The authority’s vans are usually used for paratransit, which provides point-to-point service by appointment for people who are unable to ride the public bus.

The driver, who was not named by deputies, called 911 around 6:45 a.m. to report a disturbance involving a man who was demanding a ride. But before deputies could respond, the man began threatening the driver, according to a report from the sheriff’s office.

“In fear for their life, the driver attempted to get back into the van’s driver seat to leave the area, but the suspected jumped into it and began threatening the driver,” the report said.

The driver left the location after calling 911. Deputies found Allen at a BP gas station in Wimauma about 6 miles away and arrested him on charges of carjacking, false imprisonment and trespassing in an occupied structure.

“Thankfully, the driver was unharmed during the course of this incident,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a news release. “This suspect will be charged to the fullest extent for the fear he instilled into the driver whose duty is to serve the public.”

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