Clermont Man Arrested on Battery Charges Gets Vehicle Stolen While in Jail


CLERMONT – A Clermont man who was arrested for battery early Sunday morning was a little surprised when deputies informed him someone was driving his vehicle without his permission while he was incarcerated just hours after his arrest.

Deputies arrested 63-year-old Thomas Free just after midnight on Sunday morning after he allegedly assaulted two women with his vehicle.

According to a Lake County arrest record, 47-year-old Shawn Clontz and 56-year-old Gwendolyn Clontz were working on their vehicle when Free showed up at the home and demanded that Shawn left with him.


After Shawn refused to leave with him, Free reportedly backed his vehicle into theirs causing them to suffer injuries. He then fled the scene and deputies were later able to locate him at his home.

Free was arrested and charged with two felony counts of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and was transported to the Lake County Jail where he is being held without bond.

He was at the jail later that day when deputies informed him that his vehicle was being used by his victims.

Hours after Free’s arrest, deputies responded to a call at his home in reference to possible squatters. When they arrived, they noticed Free’s vehicle was missing after it being there at the time of his arrest.

Although they did not find any squatters, they did find in the driveway, the same green Honda Shawn and Gwendolyn were working on when Free allegedly assaulted them.

When questioned, Free told deputies that he did not give permission to anyone to use his vehicle and that his vehicle and the keys were supposed to be at his home.

When deputies went to question the Clontz’s about the missing vehicle, they arrived to find Shawn and Gwendolyn exiting Free’s vehicle in their driveway.

Shawn and Gwendolyn were both arrested and charged with grand theft auto.

They were transported to the Lake County Jail where they were released the following day after posting a $2,000 bond each.