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Man jailed in chop shop case

He is accused of running an operation to alter stolen vehicles and then sell them.

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published July 29, 2000

ZEPHYRHILLS -- A 20-year-old Zephyrhills man was arrested Thursday and charged with running a chop shop operation to alter stolen cars and then sell them, deputies said.

Larry Joseph Poff of 26807 Glenwood Drive was charged with three counts of dealing in stolen property and two counts of selling a stolen vehicle with an altered vehicle information number. Between June 28 and July 13, Poff traded a stolen 1989 Toyota truck with an altered vehicle information number and title to an unsuspecting victim, deputies said. In exchange, he received a 1982 Buick Regal, which he resold for $2,500.

After the victim tried to register the vehicle, he reported to the Sheriff's Office that it was stolen, sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll said.

The Sheriff's Office obtained a search warrant to investigate other vehicles at Poff's residence, Doll said. Deputies said they found that Poff also had given away two Toyota trucks, both with altered vehicle information numbers, to a scrap dealer.

Poff said one of the trucks was his and the other was not, according to deputies.

Poff was being held Friday afternoon in the Land O'Lakes jail on $50,000 bail.

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