LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — Authorities say a brief hostage incident at a Florida McDonald’s restaurant has ended with the arrest of two suspected car thieves who were hiding inside.
Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee told reporters Saturday the two were hiding in the restaurant’s ceiling. A third suspect surrendered earlier in the day, shortly after the release of employees who were held hostage a short time.
Gee says the arrests were delayed by a man claiming falsely on social media that he was being held hostage inside.
The sheriff said the incident unfolded about 7:30 a.m. when the stolen Dodge Charger was spotted on Interstate 4 near Lakeland, about 40 miles east of Tampa.
After a short chase the car crashed and the three occupants tried unsuccessfully to carjack someone at the nearby McDonald’s. The men then went inside and forced employees to the back.