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Dealer alert

November 16, 2010
Addison man allegedly kited checks at 3 dealerships in 3 weeks, but vehicles recovered


Dealers should proceed with caution if they encounter an Addison man who police believe has bounced checks at three area dealerships in recent weeks. The involved vehicles were recovered.

Barrington police filed theft charges against Nicholas Ruffino, who is described as being in his late 30s, about 5 feet 6 inches tall, 300 pounds, and wearing short hair. Ruffino reportedly used his own identity in the dealership encounters.

Police said Ruffino spaced the dealerships he visited by about 40 miles each, first at a Chevrolet dealer in St. Charles, then a Lincoln-Mercury store in Barrington, then a Jaguar retailer in Naperville. The second and third dealers accepted trade-ins obtained from the preceding dealer. Employees at the Jaguar store ultimately sensed a scam because Ruffino wanted to flip his new Navigator so quickly.

Ruffino, said police, made minimum down payments in his attempts to trade up to pricier vehicles.

Ruffino reportedly attended one court hearing for the Barrington police charge, when he said he did not have an attorney. When Ruffino skipped a subsequent court appearance, a Lake County judge issued an arrest warrant.