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. Port Tampa Bay secures $9 million grant to deepen Big Bend Channel


    Port Tampa Bay has secured a $9 million grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the widening and deepening of the Big Bend Channel in southern Hillsborough County.

  2. Photos of the week: 20 great images from around the globe


    This week's collection of the most interesting photos from around the world features a silhouetted surfer in France, images of joy and grief from England, a massive landslide in California, a life rescued and a life lost at sea, an image from the final performance of "the greatest show on Earth" and, just for kicks, a …

    BIARRITZ, FRANCE - MAY 24:  Guillermo Satt of Chile in action whilst competing in the Men's Qualifying Round 2 during day five of the ISA World Surfing Games 2017 at Grande Plage  on May 24, 2017 in Biarritz, France.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
  3. What to watch this weekend: Grateful Dead documentary, 'House of Cards' returns Tuesday


    The Grateful Dead: Long Strange Trip

    Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in Season 5 of House of Cards on Netflix.
  4. Florida TaxWatch calls out $180 million of questionable spending in state budget


    Florida TaxWatch, a Tallahassee thinktank, has released its annual "budget turkey" list that calls on Gov. Rick Scott to veto nearly $180 million in special projects tucked into the budget, mostly in transportation.

    Kurt Wenner, Florida TaxWatch's vice president for research, presents the organization's 2017 turkey list.
  5. U.S. plans first test of ICBM intercept, with North Korea on mind


    WASHINGTON — Preparing for North Korea's growing threat, the Pentagon will try to shoot down an intercontinental-range missile for the first time in a test next week. The goal is to more closely simulate a North Korean ICBM aimed at the U.S. homeland, officials said Friday.

    n this May 21 file photo people watch a TV news program showing a file image of a missile launch conducted by North Korea, at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea. With North Korea's nuclear missile threat in mind, the Pentagon is planning a missile defense test next week that for the first time will target an intercontinental-range missile.