A man escaped from a locked Ranlo Police car Tuesday morning after being arrested on suspicion of stealing a 2017 Ford Mustang GT California Special that police had impounded the week before.
Ranlo police believe the man’s name is Juan Sebastian Cardona, the Gaston Gazette reported.
Police gave Cardona the opportunity to dress and put on shoes when they found him at home wearing only a towel early Tuesday. They handcuffed him and put him in a police car about 2:30 a.m., the Gazette said.
The police then went back to secure the broken front door of Cardona’s home on Wicklow Drive. When they returned to the car, Cardona was missing, the Gazette reported.
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“He managed to slip his left leg between the driver’s seat and driver’s door and hit the unlock button,” Ranlo Police Chief Tim Anderson told the Gazette. Police also think a person outside the car helped him escape, WBTV reported.
Ranlo police, Gastonia police and a K-9 unit briefly searched for Cardona, but Anderson said they think he went to a nearby park where a vehicle may have picked him up, the Gazette reported.
Police told the Gazette that they think Cardona acquired $2 million using fake identities. Several guns, including a semi-automatic AR-15 and a .45 caliber gun, cartons of bullets, multiple fake IDs, counterfeit Social Security cards, credit cards and bank statements also were found during Cardona’s arrest, according to news reports.
Police are not certain of the man’s identity, but a Colombian passport and national identification bearing the Cardona name were collected as evidence, according to Gazette photographs. Officials think he is a former member of the Colombian military, WBTV reported.
Cardona had been arrested on Aug. 16 on charges of carrying a concealed weapon, identity theft and using a telephone to set up a fake credit account, the Gazette said. Ranlo police arrived at Cardona’s house that day in response to a gunshots-related noise complaint.
He was booked at Gaston County Jail, where he was released less than 48 hours later on a $100,000 bond.
Police consider Cardona dangerous and say he might be traveling in a 2015 model Mustang, according to the Gazette. He is 6 feet tall and weighs 200 pounds, with a stocky build, black hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information of his whereabouts should call 911 or Crime Stoppers of Gaston County at 704-861-8000.