Waldo police: Men stole TV at gunpoint as 'ransom' in property dispute


Published: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 at 12:07 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 at 12:07 p.m.

Two men accused of forcing their way into a Waldo home in a property dispute have been arrested on multiple felonies after police say they brandished a gun and stole a television for "ransom."

Julio R. Rodriguez, 23, of Hialeah, and Elihu A. Ellis, 22, of Gainesville, were charged with armed robbery and aggravated assault, among other charges, in connection with the incident, which happened just after midnight Monday, according to the Waldo Police Department.

Rodriguez had gone to a home in the 14800 block of Northeast 142nd Street to retrieve some belongings after earlier moving out, police said. He brought Ellis with him to help gather his belongings, police said, and confronted the female resident of the home about exchanging a stereo he had installed in her car.

Rodriguez had a stereo that belonged to the woman in his hand and was arguing for the return of his stereo when he smashed the woman's stereo on the ground, breaking it, officers reported. The woman then told Rodriguez she would not exchange stereos since he had broken hers and went back inside her home, along with a witness.

The witness told police he then heard what sounded like a gun clicking and saw Rodriguez lifting his arm as if he had a gun. He also heard Ellis say "Let me get mine," he told police.

The witness then raced to lock the doors to the home, but Rodriguez and Ellis were able to break through the front door, police said. The two men then grabbed a TV valued at $600 and broke a $50 DVD player, police reported. When the woman objected to the men taking the TV, police said Rodriguez told her he was taking the TV as "ransom" until she returned his stereo.

The men then fled in a green Ford Explorer that was later apprehended by the Alachua County Sheriff's Office. Police were able to retrieve the TV and return it to the woman.

After being questioned about the gun, Rodriguez denied there ever was a gun, but Ellis tearfully told officers where he had tossed the weapon wrapped in a red shirt, police said. A sheriff's deputy went to the indicated location and found the firearm.

Both Rodriguez and Ellis were booked into the Alachua County jail, where they remained Tuesday — Ellis without bail and Rodriguez in lieu of $52,000 bond.

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