NewsHillsborough County


Stolen car returned to USF student

Posted at 5:25 PM, Jan 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-29 18:46:10-05

TAMPA, Fla. — A USF student came home from holiday vacation to discover his car has been stolen. But as luck would have it, detectives found it and returned it to him without a scratch.

Juan Romero is a senior at the University of South Florida, an exchange student studying engineering. After Romero returned from a trip home to Columbia in December, he noticed his next-to-new Volkswagen was missing.

“I push the alarm and the car was not there,” Romero said. He searched the entire parking lot for it, even called a towing company but there weren’t any reports of the car.

Next, he called detectives who encouraged the student to report his car missing.

In 30 days, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office discovered the vehicle had not only been stolen, but sold three different times.

“Carvana was the 3rd entity it was sold to before it was reported stolen,” Detective Chris Hinkle said.

Investigators are still looking into how this discrepancy could have happened, considering you have to show a title and I.D. to any legal dealership.

But after Hinkle put in a few phone calls to explain the situation, Carvana agree to give back the stolen car and in perfect working condition.

“I really don’t believe what happened,” Romero said.

Investigators say they have leads in the search for the thief.