BELFAST, Maine — A city man was arrested Wednesday for running an illegal used car lot from his Main Street dooryard.
Matteo Adragna, 49, of 183 Main St., was charged with operating an unlicensed car dealership. He was booked at the Waldo County Jail and released later that day on personal recognizance bail.
Don Cookson, spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office, credited Belfast Detective Michael McFadden for alerting Bureau of Motor Vehicles investigators to Adragna’s activities. Cookson said BMV investigator Scott Robideau and McFadden took part in the search of Adragna’s residence.
Seized in the search were a 2000 Dodge Ram pickup truck, several pages of printed records that detailed alleged sales of used cars from Adragna’s address, and a Massachusetts dealer’s plate issued to Rowley Motor Car Co.
“It is unknown at this time whether any connection between that company and Mr. Adragna is known or exists at all,” Cookson said.
Cookson said additional charges against Adragna were likely, based on evidence ob-tained during the search of his residence.
“Obviously, we take this very seriously,” said David Guilmette, director of the BMV’s Office of Investigations. “For us, this is a consumer protection issue, plain and simple, because anybody who buys a car from an unlicensed dealer has no legal recourse available to them in the event of problems with that vehicle down the road.”
Guilmette said putting an unlicensed dealer out of business is also good for Maine’s business community. “When you have legitimate dealers work-ing hard and playing by the rules, it’s not fair for them to have to compete with someone who operates outside the law.”