VENICE, Fla. (WFLA) – A suspected dangerous Venice carjacker is behind bars after a 24-hour manhunt. Police say 53-year-old Ralph Forte went on a rampage Wednesday, carjacking and attacking multiple people.
The attacks kept an entire community on edge
Police say Forte violently attacked a masseuse at the 88 Spa Massage off Tamiami Trail. Forte repeatedly beat the victim on the head, according to a police report.
He then took off and jumped into the back of a moving pickup, officials said. The driver of the pickup drove into a Publix parking lot and slammed the brakes, throwing Forte off, police said.
But Forte kept going. He spotted a man in the parking lot, tried to carjack him and then beat him, according to the Venice Police Department. The suspect then ran off.
A massive search ensued, and two schools were briefly placed on lockdown.
Officials said Forte’s fingerprints were found on one of the vehicles. Police tracked him down at his house and arrested him. Police say Forte confessed to the crimes.
He’s a former Marine with a criminal history. He now faces numerous charges, including attempted murder. He’s being held without bond.
Venice officials say the injured masseuse is in her 40s. She underwent a successful surgery for her head injuries and is recovering, officials said.