A Florida woman who demanded chocolate milk and her man friend are behind bars after being accused of robbing a Summerfield woman at gunpoint.
The victim called the Marion County Sheriff’s Office seeking help just moments after items valued at $1,615 were taken from her residence. When sheriff’s deputies arrived at her home in the 6600 block of S.E. 139th Lane, she identified 30-year-old Deborah Frances Benafield and 26-year-old James William Tarantino as the people who had robbed her, a sheriff’s office report states.
The victim told deputies that a friend of hers identified as “YG” had brought Benafield and Tarantino to her residence and asked if they could stay there for the day. She said she then went to a local store with her friend in Benafield’s vehicle, a 2006 Silver Kia Sportage, and returned a short time later. She said Benafield asked for chocolate milk and other grocery items and when she refused to give them to her, she told Tarantino to take all of her belongings, the report says.
The victim said that during the incident, Benafield was pointing what appeared to be a gun at her that was concealed under a shirt. She said she never actually saw the firearm but was in fear for her life.
The victim said her friend attempted to talk Benafield out of robbing her but she proceed to take multiple pairs of women’s Michael Jordan sneakers, several pairs of men’s sneakers, miscellaneous men’s clothing and two smart tablets. She said the couple and her friend then got into Benafield’s vehicle and drove away. She also said that even though her friend left with the couple “on his own free will,” he had nothing to do with the robbery, the report says.
A detective went to a residence in the 10400 block of S.E. 132nd Place and made contact with Benafield and Tarantino. They were taken into custody and transported to the sheriff’s office’s South Multi District Office at 3260 S.E. 80th St. in Ocala for questioning.
Benafield at first denied taking any of the items but then said that when the victim and her friend were at the store, she took a couple of pairs of tennis shoes and hats, two tablets and a BB gun. She said the victim then confronted her about the items so they went to the vehicle to leave the residence, the report says.
Benafield denied pulling a gun on the victim or acting like she had a weapon. But she admitted that Tarantino helped her take the items from the victim’s residence and said they were still in her vehicle, according to the report.
Tarantino said that neither he nor Benafield had taken any items from the victim’s home. He also denied seeing Benafield acting like she had a gun.
Both Benafield and Tarantino were then placed under arrest and transported to the Marion County Jail. Benafield, who lives at 13148 S.E. 32nd St. in Belleview, was charged with robbery with a firearm and larceny/grand theft. She was being held on no bond, jail records show.
Tarantino, who lives at 8262 S.E. 123rd Lane in Belleview, was charged with robbery with a firearm, larceny/grand theft and a past charge for failure to appear in court. He was being held on $55,000 bond on the new charges and no bond on the previous charge.