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Gainesville mayoral candidate accused of stealing truck

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A city of Gainesville mayoral candidate has been arrested and charged with grand theft auto after a woman complained that he stole her dead grandmother's truck.

Donald Shepherd, 60, who ran for mayor in 2013 and is a candidate again, was arrested early Wednesday by the Gainesville Police Department.

Christina Avalos-Arteaga filed a complaint with police in September, saying that Shepherd had taken her dead grandmother's maroon 1991 Ford F150.  Avalos-Arteaga said the truck was transferred to her ownership by her uncle, who had power of attorney over her grandmother's property, after her grandmother died on Aug. 12. She re-registered the truck in her name and legally the truck belongs to her, police said.

According to the arrest report, Shepherd, whose relationship to Avalos-Arteaga and her grandmother is not clear, wanted the truck and offered to pay what the vehicle would bring as scrap metal, but the family said no.
Avalos-Arteaga wanted to give the truck to her brother, who lives in California, the report said, so she took ownership of it first so she could transfer it to him.

According to the report, Shepherd helped Avalos-Arteaga and her husband clean out her grandmother's apartment the day after the funeral and while there he again asked if he could have the truck and was told no.

Avalos-Arteaga told police that she went to get the truck on Aug. 28 and it was gone. She then learned where Shepherd lived and found the truck at his home.

She took a picture of him standing beside the truck in his driveway and called police for help getting her truck back. When police went out to Shepherd's home on Aug. 31, the truck was not there and several messages were left with Shepherd to contact GPD about the vehicle. He never did.

A warrant for Shepherd's arrest was issued Jan. 7, and he was taken into custody this week.