Carjacker takes family’s SUV from Collier to Lee County before getting busted

Reporter: Gail Levy Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:
Jacob Sturm. Credit: Lee County Sheriff’s Office

Sunday, Jacob Sturm, 31, of North Fort Myers was arrested after deputies say he committed a carjacking in Immokalee before being apprehended in Lee County.

According to an incident report from Collier County Sheriff’s Office, the victim went into the Advance Auto Parts store at 1039 W. Main St. around 12:45 p.m., leaving another person inside the car.

Investigators say Sturm went up to the car and knocked on the window. When the teenager in the car did not roll down the window for him, Sturm got into the driver’s side of the car and told her to get out or he would kill her. She got out and Sturm drove away with the car.

Deputies with Lee County Sheriff’s Office say they began searching the area of State Road 82 and Alabama Road in Lee County when a license plate reader in the area alerted them to the presence of a stolen car. Sturm was located, pulled over and arrested soon after.

While the car has some damage, the family said it’s happy to have their car back and their lives. Ben DeJesus explained to us what happened when he and his niece were at Advance Auto Parts.

“My niece ran in and said, ‘They took the car; they took the car,’” DeJesus explained. “And I said, ‘What do you mean they took the car? You were sitting in the car.’”

DeJesus’ 15-year-old niece was sitting in her mom’s SUV in front of the store, when Sturm is accused of carjacking her as described in the report. That’s when she told investigators Sturm threatened to kill her.

“She said that the guy went in and told her I’ll kill you or if you don’t get off,’ DeJesus said. “So I’m glad she got off.”

DeJesus tried to stop Sturm, but he couldn’t.

Fortunately for the family, Sturm left them with a tip as to where to find him.

“He said something about he was trying to catch a ride to 82,” DeJesus said. “Well, let’s go down 82. I mean, maybe he’ll dump it or something. I mean, you never know.”

Sure enough, Sturm was true to his word, and deputies caught him quickly after he stole their vehicle.

DeJesus and his niece were driven to the scene, where they confirmed the car was the one they had reported as stolen. He said is happy his family is OK because it’s not every day people get out of these types of situations without a scratch, and he said he’s proud of how his niece handled this life-threatening situation. He said, no matter what, no car, no money, will ever have greater value than a life.

“I went crazy,” DeJesus said. “I just keep thinking about, you know, if they took my niece, I don’t know what I would do. You know, they could’ve just took her, and like I said so many thoughts running through my head, rape, dumped on the side of the road or something or killed her or something. I gave her a big hug and everything.”

Sturm remained in custody at Lee County Jail Monday and faces a charge for grand theft of a motor vehicle.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.