A 26-year-old Ocala man faces grand theft charges after he was observed Sunday replacing his flat tire with a tire from a stranger’s car, Hernando deputies said.
Thomas Cowen Bencivenga pulled into a restaurant parking lot on U.S. 19 in Spring Hill about 8 a.m. Sunday, according to a report from the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.
Bencivenga pulled up next to a 2003 Ford Focus and removed the right front tire on his 1995 Saturn, deputies said.
He then used his car jack and lug wrench to remove the left front tire on the Ford Focus, deputies said. The owner of the Ford saw Bencivenga removing her tire and called authorities, the report said.
The deputy who responded saw Bencivenga removing the victim’s tire and placing it on his Saturn, according to the report.
When questioned, Bencivenga said he thought he was changing his own tire and didn’t realize he was taking a tire that didn’t belong to him, according to the report. He appeared to be under the influence of an unknown drug, deputies said.
Bencivenga was arrested and taken to the Hernando County Detention Center where he was being held on $2,000 bond. Deputies also learned that Bencivenga is on felony probation for an armed burglary in Marion County.