Crime

Cops: Drug-fueled man burns daughter's car, steals another, nabbed in Maryland after speeding away and crashing

A Key Largo man stole his daughter's car, burned it, then stole a car from another man who was gassing up his vehicle at a nearby gas station, the Monroe County Sheriff's Office said.

Robert Hoffman, 50, of Ryan Avenue in Key Largo was nabbed Saturday by the Maryland Transportation Authority Police around Baltimore. He had just ditched the car he reportedly stole in the Keys, the Monroe County Sheriff's Office says.

Deputy Becky Herrin said Hoffman is accused of stealing his daughter's 2007 Ford Fusion while she worked an overnight shift. She said she was sleeping after work Friday just before 10 a.m. when her father entered her bedroom.

He threw her car keys at her and said, "I just blew up your car," the daughter told police. She went outside and saw her car on fire. She told Detective Yunier Galvez Hoffman had been on a multiple-day drug and alcohol binge.

After reportedly setting his daughter's car on fire, he left the house. Minutes later, Herrin said, Sheriff's Office dispatchers received a call from a man at the Tom Thumb store at mile marker 104 who said he'd just fought with a man who stole the car he was driving, a 2001 Mercury sedan. The car belonged to the man's roommate.

The caller said the man, later identified as Hoffman, ran up to him, threw him to the ground and yelled "I'm stealing your car." He said he fought with Hoffman, who jumped in and drove off with the pump handle still in the gas tank.

The Sheriff's Office issued a notice to be on the lookout for the car, which was entered into state and national crime computers as stolen.

Saturday afternoon, Herrin said, the Mercury was found after the license plate was read going through a tunnel on Interstate 95 in Maryland. The Maryland police tried to pull Hoffman over but he refused, Herrin said. Instead, he took off, and crashed after an eight-mile chase.

Hoffman ran away from the crash and, before he was apprehended, he had cut his own neck, Herrin said. He was airlifted to a downtown Baltimore hospital for medical care.

He faces possible charges of two counts of grand theft auto, carjacking and felony criminal mischief.

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