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Carjacking suspects drove off with child in vehicle, Hernando deputies say

The child was in the backseat when two men jumped into the Ford F-250 at a Speedway in Brooksville, authorities say. They saw the child before leaving the parking lot.
Samuel Christopher Rorah, 28, of Lakeland, left, and Toby Gene Barber, 47, of Spring Hill, face charges of carjacking and resisting arrest without violence, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.
Samuel Christopher Rorah, 28, of Lakeland, left, and Toby Gene Barber, 47, of Spring Hill, face charges of carjacking and resisting arrest without violence, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office. [ Photos provided / Hernando County Sheriff's Office ]
Published Nov. 23
Updated Nov. 23

A woman who stopped at a Brooksville gas station said her vehicle was stolen after she walked into the store with one of her children — and her other child still was in the vehicle when the thieves drove off, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.

The child was in the backseat, playing a game on a hand-held device, when two men jumped into the 2000 Ford F-250 just before 9 p.m. Saturday, the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Monday.

The suspects, later identified as Samuel Christopher Rorah, 28, of Lakeland, and Toby Gene Barber, 47, of Spring Hill, realized the child was in the backseat before they left the parking lot of the Speedway, located at 26260 Cortez Boulevard, and Barber got out, opened the back door and pulled the child out of the truck, then the pair fled, according to the release.

The child, who was not injured, ran into the store to find his family. He told his mother what had happened and provided a description of the driver and his heavily tattooed arm, the Sheriff’s Office said.

The store’s surveillance footage showed Rorah get into the truck and drive off, but the passenger wasn’t captured on the video, deputies said.

A dispatcher relayed a description of the stolen vehicle and tag information, and before long two deputies in an unmarked car spotted the truck and began following it until marked vehicles arrived, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Eventually, Rorah lost control of the truck and came to a stop in a yard on Mallard Street, at which point Barber and Rorah got out and fled on foot before they were caught and arrested, deputies said.

Rorah and Barber both face charges of carjacking and resisting arrest without violence. Rorah also faces a charge of driving on a suspended/revoked license.