SUV stolen, torched in woods after 100 mph chase; man in custody


A 49-year-old man stole an older man’s sport utility vehicle from a public library and torched it in the woods after a 100 mph police chase, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office said.

Deputies arrested Randall J. Hole of Bradenton on Tuesday in connection with an alleged car theft that occurred April 6 at the Cummings Library. He was being held late Wednesday at the Martin County Jail in lieu of $162,000 bail. Hole faces multiple charges, including grand theft of a motor vehicle, battery on a person 65 or older and criminal mischief.

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The situation unfolded when Hole encountered an older man at the library that night, according to a sheriff’s arrest report. Hole reportedly bumped into the man intentionally and removed car keys from the man’s back pocket.

Witnesses at the library told investigators Hole had been acting suspiciously and appeared to be under the influence of either drugs or alcohol. At one point, he he swallowed a handful of pills, a witness told investigators. After taking the car keys, Hole allegedly sped away in the older man’s Toyota RAV4.

A deputy reportedly spotted the stolen vehicle cutting through traffic on Kanner Highway at speeds of more than 100 mph. A sheriff’s helicopter then spotted the vehicle in the DuPuis Wildlife and Environmental Area in southwestern Martin County near Lake Okeechobee. Hole set the vehicle on fire once he realized deputies were on his trail, the sheriff’s office said.

When deputies finally caught up to him, Hole reportedly claimed he was “looking for his old lady who wrecked the car into the woods.”

He said he did not know where his girlfriend went. Hole did not cooperate further. On Tuesday, he was taken to the sheriff’s criminal investigations division.

Hole said he did not remember stealing a vehicle or fleeing from law enforcement, the report said.

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