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Grand Theft Auto Suspect Arrested

For Immediate Release : Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
Release Number: 22-082



At 11:40 a.m. on Friday, June 3, 2022, our HCSO Eye on Crime camera notified deputies of a stolen vehicle traveling near S 78th St. and Rideout Rd. Deputies located the vehicle at a home on the 8500 block of Blueridge Dr. in the area of Clair-Mel. Upon attempting to make contact with the driver, the suspect reversed the stolen vehicle into the path of deputies on scene, then fled the area. No deputies were injured in the process.

A pursuit ensued through the Palm River area until it came to a stop at Causeway Blvd. and Visconti Blvd. in Brandon. A male fled the car on foot, while a female passenger was detained. The male suspect took off running into the woods and was pursued by a deputy. In trying to evade arrest, the suspect jumped into nearby water. The deputy, who continued to follow the suspect, became submerged in the water as well. The suspect exited the water and attempted to jump a fence to continue fleeing. In the process of continuing the foot pursuit, the deputy's service weapon was discharged once. No one was hit.

The suspect was apprehended in the area a short time later by an HCSO K-9. He was transported to Tampa General Hospital for non-life threatening injuries sustained from the K-9 bite.

The suspect, Joseph Hernandez, 35, is currently on probation for aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer. He will now face additional charges of grand theft auto, violation of probation and resisting arrest.

"This is an individual who had no respect or concern for the lives he put at risk by nearly striking deputies with the stolen vehicle he was driving or the many drivers on the roadway who he put in danger by fleeing," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "We will not allow bad guys who victimize our residents to get away with their crimes. I am thankful that this suspect was taken into custody without anyone getting hurt."

This remains an active investigation. Any addition details will come from the HCSO Public Affairs Office via a press release.