Orlando man claiming to be kidnapped nabbed in Leesburg robberies

Francisco Jomar Rodriguez-Santa

Five different law enforcement agencies worked together Sunday night to nab an Orlando man accused of robbing a fast-food restaurant and a drug store in Leesburg.

Leesburg police alerted the Lake County Sheriff’s Office that the vehicle used in the robberies at the McDonald’s and the Walgreens at the corner of U.S. 27 and County Road 48 was headed toward Howey-in-the-Hills. A police officer from that department spotted the vehicle as it continued south on State Road 19 toward Groveland. Officers from Astatula and Groveland, along with sheriff’s deputies, then flooded the area.

A short time later, deputies located 33-year-old Francisco Jomar Rodriguez-Santa in the middle of a roadway. He claimed he had been kidnapped by black men who already had fled the scene.

Two drone teams, a K-9 team and the sheriff’s helicopter responded and found no other suspects in the area. Leesburg officers arrived and using video surveillance footage identified Rodriguez-Santa as the robbery suspect.

Rodriguez-Santa was taken into custody and transported to the Lake County Jail, where he remains in custody on $100,000 bond. More charges could be coming his way as he matches the description of a man who committed a robbery in Sorrento on Saturday, a report says.

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