Former car dealer arrested for stolen Cadillacs after traffic stop: Officials, December 2, 2023

BROOKSVILLE, Fla. - A 39-year-old Riverview woman was recently stopped for speeding but ended up being arrested for grand theft, according to officials.

Troopers say they stopped Yajaira Martinez on I-75 in Sumter County for speeding and a tag violation on a 2018 Cadillac Escalade.

According to authorities, Martinez told troopers that she had no paperwork for the vehicle, and it had dealer plates attached. Officials say the vehicle identification number (VIN) on the front windshield did not appear professional, and it looked like it had been tampered with.

After law enforcement requested to check the vehicle's secondary VIN, they say it also appeared to have been tampered with.

Officials also checked the dealer tag and discovered it was not assigned to the vehicle it was attached to.

The VIN indicated it was assigned to a 2020 Cadillac Escalade, not the 2018 Escalade, according to authorities. Investigators say the secondary VIN had also been swapped.

A comparison of both VINs and the attached tag confirmed that the stopped 2018 Escalade was stolen from Pennsylvania, according to law enforcement.

The driver consented to a search and troopers say the materials that belonged to the 2018 Escalade were found inside the vehicle.

READ: Search underway for St. Pete antique thief seen crawling around store, stealing $18K worth of items

Martinez told troopers that she owned a car dealership in Tampa that had recently closed called Champa Bay Auto Brokers, according to officials. Authorities say the dealership was first licensed in April 2022 and closed in April 2023.

Troopers say they continued investigating and found a 2022 Cadillac Escalade that was confirmed to have been stolen from Clearwater, Florida, in June 2023 near the dealership. The 2022 Escalade had been "re-vinned," according to investigators.

Troopers say Martinez was arrested and taken to the Hernando County Jail on the following charges:

Grand Theft of a Motor Vehicle-1 count (Felony)

Possess Vehicle with Altered Numbers-1 count (Felony)

This investigation is ongoing, according to officials.

News article: