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Pursuit through Bushnell ends with man's arrest

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By Bob Reichman

A trip to the Bushnell Walmart last week ended in arrest for a local man after sheriff’s patrol cars converged on the store, a canine began sniffing around, and even the sheriff’s department helicopter was deployed.
By the time the incident was over, Fredrick Scott Bentley, 26, Bushnell, was arrested for fleeing an officer, vehicle theft, resisting an officer, driving while license suspended and a Hernando County warrant. Bentley was placed in the Sumter County Detention Center with bond set at $5,500.
The incident began about 7:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, when the sheriff’s department was informed that a 2002 blue Dodge Durango was stolen from Lake County, according to sheriff’s Lt. Bobby Caruthers.
A deputy on patrol through the Walmart   parking lot noticed a vehicle that matched the description, according to Caruthers.  A check of the license tag verified that the vehicle was the one that had been stolen.
After determining by reviewing store surveillance videos that the suspect was still inside the store, additional deputies were called in to assist.
Authorities determined that Bentley left the store through the automotive center exit and crossed the street to Blueberry Hill RV Park, Caruthers said. He was seen walking through the park and climbing a fence and entering the east side of the city’s sports complex.
A canine and the sheriff’s helicopter then joined the search for Bentley, according to Caruthers.
About 12:25 p.m., deputies received information that Bentley and his girlfriend were traveling on C.R. 476 in Bushnell in a black Suzuki.
Undercover officers saw the vehicle and approached it on a small dirt road near the Sumter County School District offices.
Initially, Bentley headed directly at the officers at a high rate of speed, Caruthers said. With water on both sides of the road and no way to pass, Bentley then put the vehicle in reverse to evade officers.
The officers were able to stop the vehicle and Bentley was removed from it, he said. He refused officers’ commands to put his hands behind his back and had to be stunned with a Taser.
He was then taken into custody and placed in the county jail.
Bentley faces additional charges from Lake County.