By Team

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Police detectives have arrested a man accused of defrauding a restaurant server out of thousands of dollars and stealing two luxury vehicles from Coral Gables’ sellers on Facebook Marketplace.

Police said back in January of this year, Pedro Horta, 72, befriended a Coral Gables restaurant server and offered her a position as a personal driver.

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He told the server that he was looking for a personal female driver.

Police said that he gained the victim’s trust by telling her that his cataracts were getting worse and that he had issues with male drivers.

The victim agreed to be a driver, but told Horta she did not have a suitable car to drive him around.

That is when police said Horta told the victim that he could get her a very nice vehicle valued at $10,000 for $5,000 through a friend.

Police said Horta met with the victim on January 29, 2021, and was handed $5,000 in cash as payment for a vehicle.

The victim told police that after that the victim could not get a hold of Horta and never received the vehicle.

Police said that on February 26, 2021 at 10:30 a.m., a second victim met Horta in the 200 block of Alhambra Circle.

The victim had advertised his 2004 Mercedes for sale on Facebook Marketplace.

Horta posed as a potential buyer under the alias of “Manny Diaz”.

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Police said the victim and Horta drove around the area together to test drive the Mercedes and when Horta pulled into the parking space, the victim exited the vehicle and Horta drove off, leaving the victim stranded.

Then on February 27, 2021, at approximately 8:30 p.m., police said Horta met with another victim who was selling a BMW on Facebook Marketplace.

Horta again posed as a potential buyer using the same alias, “Manny Diaz”.

Horta test drove the BMW with the victim and they drove to a hotel in Coral Gables.

Police said Horta gained the confidence of the victim and asked the victim to go inside and speak to the front office attendant.

Horta told the victim the attendant was his daughter and he wanted to surprise her with the vehicle he was about to buy.

Police said that when the victim entered the hotel, Horta drove away with the BMW.

Authorities said that on March 6, 2021, Horta was spotted in Sunny Isles, driving the stolen BMW, where he was stopped and apprehended by Sunny Isles police.

Horta has been charged with multiple counts of Grand Theft and Obstruction by Disguise.

Coral Gables detectives believe there may be other victims.

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If you believe you have been a victim of this man, authorities urge you to call your local police department. Team