Rehab Escapee Steals Car in Dramatic Grocery Store Attack, Leads Police on High-Speed Chase

Stuart, Fla. — In a startling sequence of events, a man recently out of a local drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility assaulted a woman in a grocery store parking lot, stole her vehicle, and later crashed it while attempting to evade police, authorities said.

The incident began when the suspect, identified by the Martin County Sheriff’s Office as 37-year-old Carlos Manuel Lozada of New York, left the rehab center, reportedly taking an Uber to a Publix store on Cove Road. According to deputies, it was here that Lozada accosted the woman, forcibly taking her car keys as she exited the store, and then fleeing in her vehicle.

Chief Deputy John Budensiek of the Martin County Sheriff’s Office detailed that Lozada aggressively approached the woman, snatched her keys, located her vehicle, and quickly drove off. Budensiek expressed a stark denouncement of the suspect’s actions, underscoring the dangers posed to community safety.

The chase culminated dramatically as deputies employed a PIT maneuver to stop Lozada on Bridge Road in Hobe Sound, west of U.S.1. The man’s vehicle overturned and collided with a tree, resulting in significant damage. Photos released by the sheriff’s office depicted the severe aftermath of the incident.

Following the crash, Lozada was described as “extremely traumatized” and was transported to a hospital. He is expected to be charged with multiple felonies once medically cleared.

Further complicating the case, authorities revealed Lozada’s extensive criminal history, which includes prior arrests in Florida for burglary, fraud, and theft of credit cards. His criminal record in New York is reportedly even more extensive, with allegations including drug-related offenses, DUI, robbery, possession of stolen property, and grand larceny.

This incident has stirred discussions on community safety and the effectiveness of local law enforcement’s response to such violent crimes. Law enforcement officials affirmed their commitment to protecting residents and ensuring that criminals are apprehensively prosecuted.

“The safety of Martin County residents is paramount. We will not stand by and allow our community to be terrorized and victimized by individuals attempting to evade justice,” a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office stated, reflecting a zero-tolerance stance on violent crime in the region.

The investigation into this incident continues as authorities piece together the events leading up to and following the chaotic theft and chase. Community leaders are also calling for a review of rehabilitation program security measures to prevent future incidents involving individuals recently released from such facilities.