Two career criminals arrested after stealing car from a motel

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ocala news, ocala post, grand theft
Michael Joseph Pent Jr. [left] and Zachary Alan Hamel
Ocklawaha, Florida — Two car thieves are behind bars after they were arrested for stealing a car from the Microtel Inn & Suites, located at 1771 Southwest 134th Street, Ocala.

The victim told deputies that he had given the suspect, later identified as Zachary Alan Hamel, 22, a ride to the motel the night before.

The victim stated that the following morning Hamel asked for the car keys because he needed to retrieve his things from the car. The victim said he gave Hamel the keys but instructed him to bring them right back. He said he did not tell Hamel he could use the vehicle.

Moments later, the victim said he noticed that Hamel had not returned with the keys, went outside, and saw that his car was gone.

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Surveillance footage showed that Hamel got into the vehicle with a known criminal, Michael Joseph Pent Jr., 20.

The car was equipped with a GPS tracker, which deputies used to locate the vehicle in the 13000 block of Highway 25, Ocklawaha. The vehicle was parked behind a residence.

The owner of the residence, who stated that he thought it was weird that the two had parked behind the home, gave deputies permission to enter the property.

Hamel and Pent were located inside the home. Hemel was allegedly using the bathroom and Pent was hiding in the shower.

Pent told deputies that he did not know that Hamel had stolen the vehicle. He said he was hiding because he does not like cops.

Hamel and Pent were charged with Grand Theft Auto.

Pent had just been arrested in August.

Both suspects have a lengthy criminal history.