At 6:10 a.m. July 5, Bay Isles residents Robert and Pat Lonsdale, of Bayou Sound, reported the theft of their van to police.
But the events leading up to the arrest of a DeBary man are just as strange as the arrest.
The Lonsdales reported to police that Mark Grobmyer, of DeBary, (a stranger to them) climbed into their van, which was parked in front of their home, and started it up while they were talking to a AAA employee who had arrived to put gasoline in the van’s empty fuel tank. (Robert Lonsdale ran out of gas on his way home from work hours earlier.)
The couple reportedly yelled at the man to get out of the van several times before he did so, but not before he stole the keys to the van, pushed Pat Lonsdale and ran away.
Later that evening, police responded to the couple’s report of the theft of the van, and while questioning a security guard, they saw the van driving away from Bay Isles.
Police were able to pull Grobmyer over by creating a roadblock with two patrol cars while he attempted to drive south on Harbourside Drive after making a U-turn to evade police.
Police had to point a gun at Grobmyer, while telling him several times to get on the ground. Grobmyer, who repeatedly banged his head against the patrol car divider glass after being placed under arrest, was identified by the Lonsdales and transported to jail.
Grobmyer was arrested for grand theft and strong-arm robbery.
Longboat Key Police Chief Al Hogle said it’s not often that his officers have to take such measures on the island.
“Roadblocks and guns completely drawn don’t happen that often out here,” said Hogle, who said he believes Grobmyer was under the influence of alcohol and possibly a controlled substance at the time of his arrest.
Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].