Driver, suspected thief arrested after group home van stolen with passenger inside

(As originally published with bells and whistles, Wed, February 1st 2023, 1:26 PM EST)

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (TND) — There have been two arrests after a group home van was stolen in Florida on Monday with its passenger, a non-verbal 55-year-old wheelchair-bound man, inside.

Police in Port St. Lucie had said the group home employee driving the van parked at a convenience store and got out, and another man got into the driver’s side and drove off, along with the wheelchair-bound man.

Later, police announced the disabled passenger and 2014 Dodge Caravan with a wheelchair ramp were found.

Tuesday, police said they arrested the thief, 46-year-old John Peloquin of New Hampshire, and Peloquin intended to drive the van all the way home. Instead, he abandoned it with the disabled victim inside.

Then, Wednesday, they made a second arrest.

John Peloquin (left) was arrested Tuesday for stealing the van with the passenger (center). Driver Ernso Oge (right) was arrested Wednesday for neglect. (Port St. Lucie Police Dept.)

Police said the driver, group home employee Ernso Oge, had gone into a liquor store, leaving the van running with the victim inside.

I am in shock. I’m really upset about it. This is unacceptable. Zero tolerance,” group home owner Anid Etienne said.

Etienne added, Oge was fired immediately after Monday’s incident.

The 65 year old was charged with neglect of a disabled adult. He was being held in lieu of $2,500 bond.

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