An accused teenaged car thief and who deputies say tried to carjack two drivers before taking off into the woods, was arrested steps away from Little League fields on Thursday evening.
Hector Galarza, 17, walked out of the woods and, as a deputy shouted orders, put his hands over his head and got on the ground. Galarza was then surrounded by deputies who had been searching for him for about two hours.
The drama of the arrest played out on the edge of the East Bay Little League fields in Hillsborough County, where parents and children watched K-9s and deputies comb through the woods, and then cheered at the conclusion.
“Having to explain to our kids what's happening is a little bit scary, and we just told them you know, obviously there's a bad guy in the woods,” said Stacy Self, a mother there with her son.
The apprehension of the suspect served as a good lesson that the good guys win, and keep people safe, she said.
Before Galarza surrendered, though, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office says he crashed a stolen car and tried to get away in Melissa Zarrouk’s vehicle.
Zarrouk says she stopped her car on Bull Frog Creek Road when she saw the crashed car, with an injured passenger. Then Galarza got in her car, she said.
“I tried to talk to him, I’m like, ‘Listen, my two-year-old is in the back seat, you are not taking this car, you are not going anywhere,” she said.
They struggled in the front seat, and he eventually took off into the nearby woods, she said.
Galarza faces multiple charges including grand theft auto, leaving the scene of a crash with injury and carjacking.