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Ex-tire store boss arrested
He is accused of stealing the title to a customer's car and almost $5,000.
By HELEN ANNE TRAVIS, Times Staff Writer
Published December 13, 2007
WESLEY CHAPEL - A former manager for a Tire Kingdom is accused of stealing almost $5,000 from the company, according to Pasco Sheriff's deputies.
Stephen Lagotte, 52, former manager of a Tire Kingdom on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, denied the store payment for several repairs made between April and July and wrongfully transferred a customer's vehicle into his name, deputies say.
Lagotte did not return a call from the Times on Wednesday.
The deceit began in March, when, according to deputies, Lagotte took $30 from the company to pay for towing his stepdaughter's gray Taurus.
The next month, the crimes grew bolder.
The arrest report said a Tire Kingdom customer could not pay almost $2,000 for repairs the customer contended were unauthorized. Lagotte told the customer he could surrender his vehicle's title to the company as payment.
"That is absolutely not our policy," said Bob Crostarosa, Tire Kingdom's vice president of marketing.
Lagotte forged the title and transferred the vehicle into his name, deputies say. The car, a 1995 Nissan Sentra, is valued at $1,975, the report said. It was later found in Hernando County.
Crostarosa said Lagotte no longer worked for Tire Kingdom. On the arrest report, Lagotte said he was a sales manager at a Tampa Pep Boys.
Pep Boys representatives could not be reached Wednesday.
Lagotte was arrested Tuesday and released Wednesday on a $10,000 bond. His charges were uttering forged instruments and planning a scheme to defraud, both felonies.