Amazon driver carjacked by masked man, Polk County deputies say

Deputies: 22-year-old suspect abandons van, enters nearby home

An Amazon delivery van was recovered near the intersection of Radford Road and North Avenue in the Gordonville area of Bartow. (Image: Polk County Sheriff's Office) (WKMG)

POLK COUNTY, Fla. – A 22-year-old man accused of carjacking an Amazon delivery driver in Polk County has been taken into custody, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies said Mario Crawford was wearing a ski mask when he stole an Amazon delivery van in a neighborhood near State Road 60, just east of Bartow, on Wednesday.

According to deputies, the driver was in the back of the van while making a delivery on Kathy Road when Crawford jumped into the driver’s seat and demanded the victim get out. The victim complied and Crawford drove away in the van before later abandoning it on Radford Road, deputies said.

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Mario Crawford, 22. (WKMG)

Someone who lives near the area where Crawford abandoned the van flagged down a deputy to report that an unknown man had just entered his home. The deputy entered the man’s home and found Crawford hiding in a bathroom, according to the sheriff’s office.

Crawford was arrested and charged with carjacking without a weapon, unarmed burglary, grand theft, possession of burglary tools, resisting and wearing a mask in public, according to deputies.

The Sheriff’s office said Crawford’s criminal history includes 17 felonies and 12 misdemeanors, including charges of burglary, grand theft motor vehicle, aggravated battery, theft, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, dealing in stolen property, fraud, loitering/prowling, resisting, trespassing and possession of marijuana.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said the Amazon driver did the right thing by getting out of the van.

“The delivery man did the right thing by not resisting the unarmed carjacker. The victim didn’t know if Crawford had a weapon on him, and didn’t know what he was capable of doing. He just knew that an unknown man wearing a ski-mask was demanding him to get out, and that was the safest thing to do. He called and reported it immediately, and we were able to catch him soon-after,” Judd said.