TAMPA - An astute tow-truck driver helped Tampa police uncover a chop shop for
stolen vehicle parts operating in the Swann Estates neighborhood, police said.
The truck driver and a civilian employee with the police department were
recovering a stolen Honda on South Dale Mabry Highway and Swann Avenue about
10:39 a.m. Thursday when the truck driver noticed skid marks in the roadway
indicating the car had been pushed, police said.
The two followed the skid marks back about a half-mile to 708 S. Lois Ave., where they spotted parts to Hondas and Acuras and called detectives, police said.
Today, police said the chop shop – where stolen cars are stripped of their parts to be sold – also contained a red Honda, a tag and registration from another Honda, and a Colorado license tag from an Acura. Police charged three men in connection with the operation. Each is charged with felony grand theft of a motor vehicle. Erick Pagani, 19, who listed the house as his address, also is charged with felony burglary and felony selling or possession of a vehicle with altered information. He was held without bail at the Orient Road Jail today because the arrest violates his probation in another case.
Yoel Alonso-Rimada, 19, of Tampa, also is charged with felony burglary. He was released from jail on $4,000 bail, records show. The third man arrested, Calberone Robinson, 21, of Tampa, was released from jail on $2,000 bail, records show.
Public records show the house is owned by Lucille Kuske of Palm Harbor. Reached by phone, Kuske was astonished by the arrests and allegations.
"Oh, my goodness," she said, declining to comment further until she knew more about the situation.
Reporter Valerie Kalfrin can be reached at (813) 259-7800
Friday, April 17, 2009
Everyday Tow Hero In FL
Kudos to this observant (and unnamed) tow truck driver! Here's the story from the Tampa Tribune:
Posted by Cyndi Kight, Associate Editor of Towing & Recovery Footnotes at 5:01 PM