PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Dramatic dash camera video shows Pinellas County deputies respond to a “be on (the) look-out”, or, BOLO alert Saturday, Aug. 10. Two deputies drew their guns as they took in the suspected thief near 54th Avenue North in Pinellas County.
There was extensive damage to the Chevrolet Camaro during this stop, but as 8 On Your Side Investigates discovered, the entire episode was a misunderstanding: The car had already been returned to its rightful owner.
“I’m in dress clothes getting ready to go to work,” said Ricardo Floyd. “It was just straight-up embarrassment.”
“I could’ve lost my life.”
This story starts Aug. 7 at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa.
Floyd says a troubled relative took his girlfriend’s Chevy from the casino’s parking lot. The couple notified the Seminole Police Department.
The police department issued an agency-wide BOLO alert.
One day later and one mile away, the Chevy was recovered by Hillsborough County deputies.
Still, Floyd was nervous to get in a car that had been marked stolen.
“I told the deputies that, if it’s a BOLO on the car, I’m not driving this car unless it was taken off,” Floyd said. “They told me it was taken off and I got in the car and I left.”
A spokeswoman for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office says deputies notified the Seminole Police Department. They are the only ones who can remove the BOLO alert from the vehicle.
Everything seemed fine until the car pinged as stolen in Pinellas County on August 10.
Just two minutes later, a deputy spotted the Chevy at the gas station. Floyd’s vehicle was hit in the back bumper. Soon, he was surrounded by two deputies at gunpoint.
“Step on out,” said the deputy. “Face away from me.”
In the dash camera video, Floyd can be heard trying to explain that the car was not stolen.
“They had the guns drawn on me, so I ain’t know what to do,” he said.
A few minutes later, the deputy realized the mistake and apologized.
But what about the nearly three thousand dollars worth of damage to the Chevy’s bumper?
“Nobody is paying for it right now,” said Floyd.
“What should we do for you?” asked 8 On Your Side Investigative reporter Mahsa Saeidi.
“I just want the situation to be handled the right way,” said Floyd.
8 On Your Side Investigates obtained records and realized two mistakes along the way.
The Pinellas County deputy that spotted the Chevy didn’t see the small line about its recovery in the system.
Additionally, the Chevy was still listed in the stolen car database. It had not been removed.
“Regardless of how it happened, we want to make sure that they have a happy ending to this crazy story,” said Darien Cobb with Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa.
The casino, in cooperation with the Seminole Police Department, took immediate action once notified of the issue by 8 On Your Side Investigates.
Cobb says they will reimburse Floyd’s girlfriend for the repair of their car, up to a maximum of the $2,705 estimate.
“Okay, that’s cool,” Floyd said. “Good work!”
Additionally, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office also told 8 On Your Side Investigates they will pay to have the car fixed.
Floyd and his girlfriend hope to put this incident behind them now.