Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Dade City car dealer accused of pawning stolen Oldsmobile

DADE CITY — People come to the Dade City Automax on U.S. 301 to buy and sell used cars.

And on at least one occasion, authorities say, someone came to the dealership to pawn a stolen car.

Detectives say dealership owner Roberto Virgen Sr. paid the man $6,000 in exchange for the stolen car, which Virgen believed to be worth $30,000. Virgen later told detectives he wasn't concerned where the car came from.

"The defendant admitted he didn't care and was looking for a good deal," the Pasco County Sheriff's Office report states.

Virgen, 40, the owner of Dade City Automax at 20133 U.S. 301, is accused of buying a classic 1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass that had been stolen in Pinellas County.

The title of the car wasn't in the name of the person pawning it, the report states, but Virgen "never asked the seller how or where he acquired the vehicle and never asked if it was stolen."

After an undercover operation, Virgen was arrested Tuesday. He is charged with dealing in stolen property and operating a pawn business without a license.

"As a dealer, he should have been very suspicious of that type of transaction," said Kevin Doll, spokesman for the Pasco Sheriff's Office.

Virgen gave the pawner $6,000 for the car, the report says. To get the car back, the seller "was to repay the defendant $6,500 within 30 days and $500 more each month the pawner failed to retrieve the vehicle."

"We don't know that the person who stole the car had any intention of coming back to get it," Doll said.

The Sheriff's Office is investigating to see if Virgen was involved with pawning other stolen cars. Virgen told an undercover agent he pawned other vehicles in the past, Doll said.

The dealership was open for business Wednesday.

Virgen, who listed his address as 17440 U.S. 301 in Dade City, did not return a phone call for comment. He was released from the Pasco County jail Wednesday on $15,000 bail.

This is his first arrest in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this story. Erin Sullivan can be reached at or (727) 969-6229.

Dade City car dealer accused of pawning stolen Oldsmobile 01/27/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 27, 2010 10:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Hollywood lost a serious filmmaker in Jerry Lewis


    The day the clown died, Hollywood lost a serious filmmaker in Jerry Lewis.

    Jerry Lewis in 2005. Lewis, the comedian and filmmaker who was adored by many, disdained by others, but unquestionably a defining figure of American entertainment in the 20th century, died on the morning of Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017, at his home in Las Vegas. He was 91 (New York Times)
  2. Game of Thrones: 'Beyond the Wall' is dark and full of terrors


    In the battle between the living and the dead, you win or you get the dragon queen to come rescue you.

    Beric Dondarrion (Richard Dormer) and Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) in Game of Thrones Season 7, episode 6.
  3. The Tampa Bay Rays are unlikely to make a decision on whether the team will leave Tropicana Field until after the St. Petersburg mayoral election, people close to the negotiations believe.
  4. Live video: See how the solar eclipse is unfolding across the country


    Americans with telescopes, cameras and protective glasses staked out viewing spots along a narrow corridor from Oregon to South Carolina to watch the moon blot out the midday sun Monday in what promised to be the most observed and photographed eclipse in history.

    A family sets up a tent at their campsite at sunrise for the solar eclipse Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, on the Orchard Dale historical farm near Hopkinsville, Ky. The location, which is in the path of totality, is also at the point of greatest intensity. [Associated Press]
  5. What time is the eclipse near me? NASA's interactive solar eclipse map has the best answer


    No matter where you are during today's solar eclipse, NASA has a map that will determine exactly what time the eclipse will begin, peak and end at every location in the United States.