Summerfield woman who recently fled from deputies now facing theft charges

Two men and a Summerfield woman accusing of fleeing from Marion County sheriff’s deputies last week are facing multiple charges in connection with a home burglary and stolen property.

A sheriff’s deputy responded last Tuesday to a home in the 7900 block of 131st Place in Summerfield in reference to a burglary. The homeowner told them that he had just returned from out of state and realized that his residence had been burglarized sometime between July 11 at 5 a.m. and July 15 at 11 p.m.

Renee Marie Strehlow, Shawn Allen Benson and Matthew Cholak

The man told the deputy he believed his daughter, 38-year-old Renee Marie Strehlow, and another man, later identified as 25-year-old Shawn Allen Benson, could be the ones who forced their way into his home and stole several items, including:

  • A Sears .22-caliber lever action rifle with a scope valued at $400;
  • A Remington .22-caliber semi-automatic rifle valued at $400;
  • A plastic bin containing miscellaneous jewelry valued at $450;
  • Two black-and-yellow storage bins containing miscellaneous jewelry valued at $500 each;
  • A 4-inch-by-4-inch container of approximately 100 sheets of gold leaf, valued at $300; and
  • A 3-inch-by-3-inch plastic container holding several miniature knives, valued at $100.

Later in the day, Strehlow was arrested during a traffic stop after being accused of fleeing from deputies. A woman in the 14000 block of SE 93rd Terrace had reported hearing gunshots and seeing Strehlow standing in a yard and holding something in the air, a sheriff’s office report states.

During the traffic stop, the deputy spotted several items that Strehlow’s father had reported missing from his home. Strehlow admitted the items belonged to her father and said she had planned to return them. But the .22-caliber rifles and the gold leaf was missing, the report says.

The past Wednesday, the deputy met with Strehlow at the Marion County Jail, where she admitted to entering her father’s home with Benson unlawfully on July 11 and taking the missing items. She said they went to 57-year-old Matthew Cholak’s Summerfield home, located at 6885 SE Hwy. 42, two or three days later and sold him the two .22-caliber rifles, the sheets of gold leaf and miscellaneous jewelry. She added that Cholak, also known as “Mopar Matt,” paid them $200 and about 5 grams of methamphetamine for the items, the report says.

On Thursday, while awaiting a search warrant for Cholak’s residence, the deputy spoke with a woman who told him that Strehlow had picked her up and they met up with Benson, who said he wanted to go to her father’s house and get a gun. The woman said Strehlow said her father’s residence would be a good “lick,” which means getting a lot of money or items for cash quickly, the report says, adding that the woman also reported seeing Benson walk out of the residence with the two .22-caliber rifles.

After being read his rights, Benson denied breaking into the residence. He said he stayed in Strehlow’s vehicle and then refused to cooperate further. He was then taken into custody and transported to the Marion County Jail.

During the subsequent search of Cholak’s residence, deputies found the two .22-caliber rifles, the sheets of gold leaf, a knife and jewelry. The items were photographed and emailed to Strehlow’s father, who confirmed they belonged to him, the report says.

Deputies then made contact with Cholak at the intersection of Hwy. 25 and Hwy. 464. After being read his rights, he admitted to purchasing the items from Strehlow and Benson, saying they were trying to “score” money for “dope.” He said he didn’t know the items were stolen and when asked why he would purchase something from “someone like” Strehlow or Benson, he said he likes guns and they claimed the items weren’t stolen, the report says.

Cholak was taken into custody and transported to the Marion County Jail, where he was charged with dealing in stolen property. He was released Friday at 10:16 a.m. on $5,000 bond and his next court date hasn’t yet been set.

Benson, who lives at 12250 SE 138th Ave. in Ocklawaha and was arrested last August for battery, was charged with unarmed burglary of a structure or conveyance, larceny/grand theft of a firearm, larceny/grand theft and dealing in stolen property. He was being held on $40,000 bond and is due in court Aug. 20 at 9 a.m. to answer to the charges.

Strehlow, who lives at 13182 SE 93rd Terrace Rd. in Summerfield, was charged with unarmed burglary of a structure or conveyance, grand theft of a firearm, grand theft, dealing in stolen property and possession of a weapon or ammunition by a convicted felon. Those charges were in addition to the ones she already was facing – fleeing/eluding a law enforcement officer with lights and siren active, operating a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license, possession of drug equipment and a warrant for operating a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license.

Strehlow, who has been in the jail nine times since March 2015, was being held on no bond on the original charges and $44,000 bond on the new charges. She is due in court Aug. 14 and Aug. 20.

Strehlow also was arrested in June 2017 after she ran a stop sign and was caught driving with a suspended license. She also was held without bond at the Lake County Jail following her arrest on Christmas Day 2015 after being picked up on a Marion County warrant for a probation violation.