Venice police arrest 'violent' carjacking suspect, 1 victim in critical condition

Posted at 12:24 PM, Oct 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-21 02:01:26-04


Venice Police have a suspect in custody in Wednesday evening’s battery and attempted carjacking.

VPD Crime Scene technicians recovered fingerprints belonging to 53-year-old Ralph M. Forte from one of the vehicles the suspect attempted to carjack. Additionally, investigators were able to obtain access to the surveillance camera footage located within the business, 88 Spa Massage, allowing investigators to view Forte at the scene of the crime.

Forte was contacted at his home Thursday and fully confessed to committing all the alleged crimes during a post Miranda interview, according to investigators.

He is currently in custody at the Venice Police Department. Charges will be determined pending further investigation.

The victim at the massage business, an Asian female in her 40s, underwent successful surgery for her head injuries and is recovering.

According to Florida Department of Corrections records, Forte spent two years in state prison for Grand Theft Auto, Forgery and Grand Theft. He was released from prison in 2011.


Venice police have sent out a warning to citizens of the city and the surrounding areas of Sarasota County to be on the lookout for a violent suspect who remains at large.

Venice Police Chief Tom Mattmuller held a news conference Thursday to update the public about incident.

On Wednesday night, police officers responded to an initial report of a carjacking and battery at the Publix parking lot at 535 S. Tamiami Trail. Police found a seriously injured woman at the scene.

The suspect reportedly attempted to carjack several people in the area while he was armed with a knife.

Police say the suspect was last seen running near Publix, fleeing south behind the Elephants Trunk Thift Store.

The suspect is described as a white male, wearing a red shirt, possibly in his 30s.

The victim is currently in critical condition at an area hospital.

The elementary and high schools near the incident are currently on "code white" as police search.

Police are investigating the incident and searching for the suspect. If you know anything about the incident, you are urged to call 941-486-2444.