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Officer: Man changed clothes, grabbed teen to avoid cops
Luis Angel Contreras 2017
Luis Angel Contreras

A change of clothes and a kidnapping allegedly helped a Gainesville man elude police, according to an officer’s testimony Friday.

Luis Angel Contreras, 26, was charged with first-degree burglary and kidnapping.

Officer Ryan Thomas said he was in a short chase of a car going 67 mph in a 40-mph zone. The car eventually crashed into a tree, and the two occupants “bailed out,” Thomas said.

“We had secured a perimeter, and this kid comes running up screaming at us, that a guy had just taken him out of his house,” Thomas said.

Thomas testified about his conversation with the teenager, who said Contreras knocked on the back door asking for clothes. The officer said the teenager tried to stall Contreras and closed the door.

“He was scared to death. He was still shaking when we came in contact with him. He thought that Mr. Contreras was going to hurt him, he had a weapon, something like that, even though Mr. Contreras never made any threats,” Thomas said.

Contreras allegedly entered the house “without authority,” according to the warrant. 

The teenager handed Contreras a soccer jersey and gray shorts, when the man allegedly told the teenager to grab a soccer ball and come with him.

“The young man asked why and he said,’It will look less suspicious if you’re walking with me’,” Thomas said.

Contreras made it out of the police perimeter and then started running, according to the officer’s testimony. He was captured shortly thereafter.

Contreras’ attorney cross-examined the investigator on the lack of weapons or force used in allegedly getting the clothes and convincing the teenager to walk with him. 

The lack of threats or violence was justification to dismiss the charges, the attorney argued.

Saying the probable cause standard had been met, Magistrate Court Judge David Burroughs sent the case on to Superior Court.

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