Safety concerns in Mount Dora after carjacking
MOUNT DORA, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Some Mount Dora merchants are concerned about safety after a customer was carjacked in a downtown parking lot.
Police say the victim got into his car and shut the door, but the suspect yanked it back open. It all happened in a downtown parking lot right by some businesses.
"We were absolutely horrified," pub owner Phil Barnard says after police say one of his customers was carjacked after leaving his place on Sunday night.
Investigators say it happened in a parking lot on Edgerton.
"Had a gun pointed at him. He tried grabbing the guy and heard footsteps and decided there was more than one of them," Barnard says.
The victim grabbed the barrel of the gun and struggled with the suspect, but he backed down when he saw two other men, according to authorities.
"He hurt his hand a little bit where he tried grabbing the gun."
According to officers, the thieves got away with $900, a cell phone, tablet and the victim's car.
"He's been very shaken up by it. The night it happened one of our staff member's car was broken into too and he had a jar of coins."
Barnard is concerned about the safety of customers and employees.
"We'd like to see more lighting. One of our biggest concerns is our restaurant employees. We've got a lot of young girls leaving in the night time, they've got their tips on them."
Mt Dora City Council members talked about improving the lighting, whether adding new lights, using led's or replacing old ones.
"The lightening is a concern. We need to define if we have an issue or don't have an issue," Mount Dora Police Chief John O'Grady says. "We currently have two suspects in custody and we're working on the third."
Barnard hopes to see changes soon.
"They do patrol up to about midnight regularly down there but then it seems to slow down a little bit. We'd like to see a few more patrols."
Barnard says he plans to attend a Merchants Meeting to talk about safety issues with city officials next week.