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Clearwater Police: Teen stole car from dealership after taking a test drive

CLEARWATER — Test drives are meant to attract potential buyers — not potential thieves.

But after taking a ride in a 2012 Dodge Charger, Nicholas M. Stidwell, 19, of Largo, decided to return and steal the vehicle from the dealership lot Tuesday night, police said.

That day, Stidwell went to the Dayton Andrews Dodge dealership under the guise of purchasing a new vehicle, police said. After test driving the Charger, Stidwell waited for the salesman to leave and then removed the car's spare key from the key ring, police said.

Stidwell returned to the lot after the dealership, at 2388 Gulf-to-Bay Blvd., closed for the day. He then drove away in the Charger, police said.

The dealership received a tip Wednesday that one of its cars had been stolen, and after reviewing its inventory contacted Clearwater Police to file a report. Officers arrested Stidwell at his home later that day.

The stolen vehicle was outside of Stidwell's house, police said.

Stidwell was charged with grand theft and held in the Pinellas County Jail on a $5,000 bond.

Marissa Lang can be reached at mlang@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3386.

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