Central Florida Man Convicted in Ocala Crime Spree Faces Life Sentence

Central Florida Man Convicted of Crime Spree in Ocala, Faces Possible Life Sentence

Last week, a Central Florida man was found guilty of a series of crimes committed during a crime spree in Ocala in 2022. Rocco Gelonese, a 45-year-old man, could potentially be sentenced to life in prison for his actions.

The crime spree began on August 7, 2022, when Ocala police officers responded to a robbery at the Paddock Mall. Employees of a JCPenney store reported that Gelonese had stolen infant clothing and shoes valued at $454. After the theft, Gelonese fled towards State Road 200.

Later that day, officers received reports of another robbery at Logan’s Roadhouse on SW 19th Ave. The victims stated that Gelonese had approached their van in the Paddock Mall parking lot and threatened them, demanding that they drive or he would shoot them. The victims noticed that Gelonese was carrying merchandise stolen from the JCPenney store.

In a separate incident, a woman sitting in her car in the parking lot near Logan’s witnessed Gelonese aggressively approach her and demand $20, claiming his wife was pregnant. The victim managed to scare Gelonese away by threatening to call the police.

After several days, Gelonese was identified by some of the victims from a photographic lineup and was subsequently arrested. He now faces charges of burglary of a conveyance with assault, burglary of an occupied conveyance, and petit theft.

Assistant State Attorney Tucker O’Neill, from the Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office, secured a guilty verdict on all charges. Due to Gelonese’s prior criminal record and status as a prison release reoffender, he could potentially receive a life sentence.

Gelonese’s sentencing is scheduled for January 31. Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney William “Bill” Gladson emphasized the importance of collaboration between law enforcement and the community in maintaining public safety. He expressed his commitment to pursuing justice and ensuring the safety of citizens.

This case serves as a reminder of the ongoing efforts to maintain public safety and the dedication of law enforcement agencies in Central Florida. As the community awaits Gelonese’s sentencing, it is crucial to continue supporting initiatives that prioritize the safety and well-being of residents.

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