The Bay County Sheriff’s Office arrested a man today in connection to a carjacking yesterday evening between 9:30 and 10:00 p.m. on Panama City Beach.
The victim got out of the car, ran to the Sonic on Middle Beach Road and asked for help. A 911 call was placed and the victim told investigators about a bad drug deal that ended up in a carjacking.
The victim stated that earlier in the evening he had been driving his father’s Denali south on Toledo Avenue and picked up a friend of his named Julian Hardy and a white male with long hair named Gregory Hipp in order to buy drugs. The victim stated he asked his friend Hardy to drive the vehicle while he sat on the passenger side in the front and Hipp sat in the back seat behind the victim. Hardy and Hipp gave the victim $75.00 to purchase pills but the drug transaction went bad when the money was given to the dealer who ran off with it and never gave the victim any pills.
The victim stated that Hipp was angered by the bad deal and suspected the victim had conspired with the dealer to steal the money.
Hipp took a rope and, from the back seat, attempted to strangle the victim. Investigators did observe ligature markings on the victim’s neck. According to the victim,
Hardy stopped Hipp and the victim managed to get out of the vehicle and run to the Sonic on Middle Beach Road. As the victim was getting help from employees of Sonic the vehicle was driven away.
Investigators with the Criminal Investigations Division located Hipp and Hardy this morning and interviewed them both.
Hipp admitted to his involvement and told deputies that while the victim was getting help from Sonic employees, he had instructed Hardy to get out of the driver’s seat and Hipp himself drove the car away.
Hipp told deputies where to find the vehicle he had abandoned last night.
Deputies found the vehicle on the side of the road on George C. Wallace Blvd. on Panama City Beach.
The vehicle has been returned to the owner.