Deputies: Man carjacks salesman at knifepoint during test ride near Sanford

Allen Pendergrass arrested on multiple charges

SANFORD, Fla. – A 26-year-old man was arrested over the weekend on allegations of carjacking a car salesman during a test ride in Seminole County.

Allen Pendergrass, of Dallas, was arrested Saturday on charges of armed carjacking, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and grand theft of a motor vehicle.

According to the Seminole County Sheriff's Office, Pendergrass approached a salesman at Mastro Subaru at 4113 N. U.S. Highway 17-92 in unincorporated Sanford and told him he was interested in buying a car.

"He came up to the showroom and asking for a car that he could buy with cash." victim Nino Villanueva said.

Pendergrass test-drove a red Hyundia hatchback, with the salesman, who's been on the job for two weeks, in the passenger seat, deputies said. While stopped at a traffic light at East Lake Mary Boulevard and North Ronald Reagan Boulevard, Pendergrass reached behind the passenger seat and pulled a large kitchen knife from his bag, deputies said.

Pendergrass held the knife to the salesman's face and ordered him to get out of the vehicle, deputies said.

"He held the knife close to my face and my chest and also he was trying to unbuckle my seat belt and then from that point on, I know I got out of the car," Villanueva said. "I stumbled because I didn't want to turn my back on him."

The salesman got out, removed the magnetic dealer license plate and struck Pendergrass in the shoulder with it, deputies said.

"I took a license plate because it's pretty heavy, like a big magnet, and then I took a swing. Probably hit him on the left side. The windows were down. I put the windows down just in case something happened," Villanueva said.

Pendergrass then drove away, deputies said.

The salesman, whose wife is six months pregnant, was not injured, but he told News 6 that he feared for his life. He said he won't let the incident stop him from selling cars. 

"I am very enthusiastic about selling cars to people and I said, 'I'm not going to quit.' Just one thing happened. There are bad guys out there. It could happen to anyone," Villanueva said.

Seminole County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Kim Cannaday said this type of encounter is extremely rare. 

"He really didn't give us any indication on why he stole it but he was very willing to answer their questions," Cannady said. "This is really an unusual situation that I have never heard occurring here in Seminole County."

Lake Mary police officers conducted a traffic stop near the 4700 block of Lake Mary Boulevard, and Pendergrass was taken into custody.

Pendergrass was booked into the John E. Polk Correctional Facility on a $35,000 bond.

The dealership said the carjacking is the first in the nine years that the business has been open.


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