CASSELBERRY, Fla. — A 32-year-old Tallahassee man was arrested Thursday in Titusville in connection with a home invasion, a rape and a kidnapping that occured Saturday evening at a Casselberry apartment complex, police said.
The Titusville Police Department told Channel 9 that Benjamin Victor Hovan was arrested Thursday as officers responded to a report of a stolen vehicle at the GasKwick convenience store on US Highway 1.
Police said an officer noticed a man acting suspiciously at the store Thursday morning, so the officer checked the license plate of the car he was driving and realized it had been stolen after a home invasion in Miami.
Investigators said they later realized the man they were arresting is Hovan.
Hovan was charged with resisting arrest after police said he ran away from them after he was shocked with a Taser.
He was booked into the Brevard County Jail at about 7 p.m. Thursday. He's being held without bail.
Police believe Hovan barged into an apartment with a knife and raped a 24-year-old woman before kidnapping her and another 24-year-old woman.
At about 8 p.m. Saturday, the women opened the door for someone they thought was a deliveryman at the Stonecastle apartments near Semoran Boulevard and Howell Branch Road, Casselberry police Cmdr. William Nas said.
"The suspect sexually battered one of the victims and then kidnapped both victims by forcing them into a vehicle owned by one of the victims," Nas said. "The suspect then drove the victims to a Publix in Maitland, where he ordered one to get money out of the ATM."
One of the victims asked a Publix employee to call 911, and Maitland police officers met up with the women, but the man had already driven away in the stolen car, which hasn't been found, Nas said.
Police said Tuesday that the stolen car, a silver 2006 Toyota Matrix, was found abandoned in a parking lot near North Orlando Avenue and Versailles Drive.
The victims, who are friends, said they noticed the man watching them unload things from a car before he knocked on the front door, investigators said.
Hovan's relatives said he vanished about a week ago, Krantz said. He could have mental health issues, such as schizophrenia and anxiety, he said.
It's unknown why Hovan was in Central Florida or if he has ties to the region, Krantz said. He could have ties to South Florida, but that's uncertain, he said.
Investigators said surveillance footage showed Hovan peering through a window in an unrelated incident. He has been previously arrested for driving under the influence, police said.
Investigators said Hovan could be responsible for a series of other crimes, beginning on June 28 or June 29, when he burglarized a Tallahassee home and stole a car.
After the home invasion, rape and kidnapping in Casselberry Saturday, police said a Maitland home was burglarized and Hovan has been identified as a person of interest in the case.
On Wednesday, South Miami police said Hovan robbed a 62-year-old woman of her jewelry before pistol-whipping her and stealing her car. Titusville police said he was in that woman's car when they arrested him.
"We're just very, very lucky he's no longer on the street," Casselberry police Capt. Brenda Brandenberger said Thursday.
Investigators from the South Miami, Maitland and Casselberry police departments drove to Brevard County Thursday to question Hovan.
Cox Media Group