Everett Jerome Tripodis, 37, was described by one officer as a “professional car thief,” the kind “they make movies about.”
Tripodis appeared in court with his legal counsel, Atlanta attorney Steven Sadow, who told Judge Emory Palmer that his client was pleading not guilty.
Tripodis was indicted in January 2012 on two counts of theft by taking for allegedly stealing two vehicles from two Carrollton dealerships in the summer of 2010.
Palmer set the case for trial on Sept. 9, so that Tripodis can take care of other legal matters in other counties.
The Fayetteville man, as well as an accomplice, allegedly went to Carrollton Motors on Bankhead Highway on July 31, went into the dealership’s office, took a set of keys from the counter and stole a 2008 Cadillac Escalade.
Police believe the same two men went onto the lot of Pugmire Ford and stole a 2010 Ford F-250 King Ranch pickup truck.
Together, the two vehicles were valued at more than $100,000.
Cpl. Stephen Davenport of Carrollton Police Department said the Escalade was recovered in South Carolina, while the F-250 has not yet been found. Davenport said Tripodis had changed the vehicle identification number on the Escalade, which prevented its being recovered for a while.
The Hartwell, Ga., woman to whom Tripodis allegedly sold the Escalade gave the SUV to a family member, who later wanted to trade it in. When the woman’s family member took it to Carmax to find out its trade value, the car was flagged as being stolen.
The woman believed Tripodis to be a representative of a dealership when she purchased the vehicle with cash, Davenport said.
Tripodis was arrested in an Ohio hotel in April 2011 by U.S. marshals. He was released in 2009 from federal prison, where he was held for stealing cars and selling them in other states.
Tripodis is in a state prison after being convicted for burglary in Coweta County in November 2010. He is currently serving a 20-year sentence there.
Davenport said the man is the kind of defendant “they make movies about.”
“He’s a professional car thief,” Davenport said. “And he’s built quite a reputation for stealing cars and turning them for profits.”
Davenport said Tripodis has been arrested in several counties and states for stealing cars, replacing the “license plates, VINs, keys, ignition, everything.”
Sadow said the defendant is currently in the middle of an appeal for new trial for his burglary conviction in Coweta County, and that his trial in Carroll should take place after that appeal is complete.