Gainesville man arrested in Georgia and charged with stealing UF basketball player’s SUV

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Martravious Jaquez Smith, 24, was arrested in Georgia after allegedly stealing UF basketball player Colin Castleton’s car in early December. He was booked into the Alachua County Jail on January 20.

Castleton reported on December 5 that his 2017 Dodge Durango was missing from its parking spot at his residence; he told a Gainesville Police Department officer that he had left a spare key in the vehicle.

Officers noted that there had been a large number of vehicle burglaries the previous night in the area and that windows of multiple cars had been smashed and items stolen; officers realized that it was likely that Castleton’s Durango had been burglarized and that the suspect had found the key and had stolen the Durango.

The vehicle was picked up on a license plate reader in Reddick, FL, where another victim’s credit card was used at a Circle K. Surveillance video was pulled from the Circle K, where the Durango is shown pulling up to a gas pump at about 4:40 a.m. The video shows only one person getting out, and he gets out of the rear passenger-side door, goes inside the store and uses the stolen credit card, then gets back in the back seat of the Durango, and the vehicle leaves. The vehicle was then tracked to Altamonte Springs, and stolen credit cards from multiple victims were used in Altamonte Springs throughout the next day.

On Sunday, December 18, a Kingstown, GA Police officer tried to conduct a traffic stop on the Durango, which no longer had Castleton’s license plate affixed. Smith was allegedly driving the vehicle, and he reportedly fled at speeds of 100-120 mph. Following an extensive high-speed chase, Camden County Sheriff’s Deputies performed a PIT maneuver to stop the vehicle, and Smith was taken into custody.

Post Miranda, Smith told deputies that he bought the Durango “on the street” for $5,600; the vehicle’s VIN confirmed that it was Castleton’s Durango.

On December 29, a Gainesville Police Department (GPD) officer traveled to Georgia to inspect the Durango and found that some of Castleton’s belongings were still in the vehicle, but most were gone. A window punch was reportedly found in the center console, and stolen items from other victims were found, along with stolen credit cards. More stolen credit cards were reportedly found in Smith’s wallet.

When the GPD officer interviewed Smith, he reportedly started out with the same story about buying the Durango, but after the officer confronted him with problems in his story, he eventually admitted that he had participated in the burglary spree, entered the Durango through an unlocked door and found the spare key, and took the Durango; he said he had been driving it ever since. He further admitted driving the Durango in Reddick and provided information about the individual who got out of the Durango at the Circle K. He also reportedly provided information about the burglary spree.

Following the high-speed police chase and the PIT maneuver, the damage to the Durango was so extensive that the vehicle has been declared a total loss.

Gainesville Police Department expects to file additional burglary charges in the case.

Smith has no felony convictions and three misdemeanor convictions. He was arrested in October 2022 and charged with carrying a concealed firearm without a permit, driving without a valid license as a second or subsequent offense, and resisting arrest; he was released after posting $10,000 bail. He is also on probation following a battery conviction in Duval County.

Smith is currently charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle, and Judge Susanne Ballard set bail at $50,000.

Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 


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