Stopped for tint: Driver had fake IDs, credit cards and active warrant, FHP says

What started as traffic stop led to felony arrest

(Florida Highway Patrol)
(Florida Highway Patrol) (Copyright 2020 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. – A man is now facing a list of felony fraud charges after a traffic stop in Sumter County.

The Florida Highway Patrol said troopers stopped Gregory Thermidor Tuesday as he was heading north on I-75 near County Road 48 in a silver BMW SUV. Troopers say they conducted a traffic stop as he was traveling 2 mph above the speed limit and had unlawful tint on the front windshield.

When authorities asked for his driver’s license, Thermidor said he did not have it with him because he recently lost his wallet. As he exited the SUV, troopers spotted a men’s wallet on the pocket of the driver’s door, according to an FHP report.

Troopers proceeded to question Thermidor about the wallet and he said the SUV belonged to his girlfriend and claimed the wallet was not his, an FHP report stated. After running Thermidor’s name through law enforcement systems, troopers learned that he had an active warrant out of Roanoke County, Virginia.

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As authorities searched the vehicle, a K-9 narcotics dog alerted trooopers to the presence of drugs. Thermidor told troopers he did not have reason to have narcotics in the vehicle, reiterating it was his girlfriend’s SUV, according to the report.

Inside the SUV, troopers said they found a card that resembled a California driver’s license that clearly “lacked a full professional appearance.” Another wallet was found in the vehicle with a makeshift Ohio driver’s license, the FHP said. None of the seemingly counterfeit licenses had Thermidor’s name on them, although they did have his photo, according to troopers. The FHP also found a number of credit and gift cards that also seemed to be fake. However, authorities did find a bank card that matched Thermidor’s legal name, the report stated.

Authorities say they also found marijuana residue inside the SUV, a receipt from the Gucci retail store in Orlando with the customer name “George Victor,” leading deputies to believe a fraudulent retail account may have been opened to make the purchase. At this point, Thermidor was whispering expletives to himself and said “I can’t get anymore (expletive) charges,” according to the FHP report.

Upon observing the exterior of the SUV, troopers said they noted the vehicle’s identification number seemed to be altered and found another VIN number that was also tampered with elsewhere on the SUV. After removing the second seemingly false VIN number sticker, troopers say they found the true VIN number and learned the SUV belonged to a rental car company and was reported stolen in January 2014 out of Palm Beach County.

Thermidor was arrested and taken to the Sumter County Jail. He’s now facing charges for false embossing or altering a credit card, possessing counterfeited license plates, grand theft of a motor vehicle, known intent of unlawful possession of four or fewer identification cards and possessing counterfeited driver’s license or ID cards.

About the Author:

Gaby is a multimedia producer from Miami. She graduated from the University of Florida and joined the News 6 team in 2018.