Man accused of stealing engagement ring expresses remorse in interview

Austin Oaks: 'I was pretty drunk that night and I was taking a lot of Xanax'

By Nicky Zizaza - Reporter

LAKE COUNTY, Fla. - The man accused of burglarizing a vehicle in Groveland on Valentine's Day called himself a "bad person" in an interview inside Lake County Jail.

Austin Oaks held his face in his hands when asked why he stole an engagement ring out of Justin Robinson's truck and swiped multiple gift cards.

"Honestly I was under the influence, I was pretty drunk that night and I was taking a lot of Xanax, so I really don't remember a lot," Oaks said.

The 23-year-old accepted News 6's request for an interview to tell his side of the story one day after Lake County sheriff's deputies arrested him for the burglary. Oaks said he targeted Robinson's property at random in a drug-induced state.

"I ended up going down some dirt road, I had no idea where I honestly was. It was so dark out, and I just don't remember," Oaks said.

In a sense of desperation he said he nabbed the engagement ring and presented it to his girlfriend as a gift. A few days later flyers for the stolen ring were plastered around town before deputies closed in on Oaks and arrested him.

"They pulled her to the side and I noticed him looking at her ring. That is when I knew automatically. Then he said, 'How long have you had that?' And she said 'I've had it since Valentine's Day. That's when it triggered in my mind," Oaks said.

During the interview Oaks expressed remorse for his behavior and said he regrets what he did.

"I hope they get their ring back, and for whatever the ring was bought for, nothing was damaged on the ring, and I hope that they enjoy their lives together." Oaks said. "I pray that nothing like this will ever come to them again."

Oaks faces several charges, including burglary. His bond is set at $4,000.

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