TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. (WFLA) – Marcelo Barbosa has become quite the celebrity in Tarpon Springs since his arrest on New Years Eve.
8 On Your Side captured police taking him into custody while riding his granddaughter’s ATV.
Authorities arrested him for driving without a valid drivers license.
“Everybody knows me in Tarpon Springs. Everybody knows me in Tarpon,” said Barbosa. “I drive by now and people are like, ‘that’s the guy on the news!'”
On Dec. 30, the Tarpon Springs Police Department posted on its Facebook page, that officers would be targeting people riding ATVs and other unlicensed motorized vehicles riding on the city’s roads.
Major Michael Trill said it is a problem in the city during the holiday season.
“Happens around Christmas time, normally it’s been on Christmas Day and the days preceding or after, to New Year’s. It will start to taper off,” said Major Trill. “Some of the reasons we believe is kids are back in school.”
Police say reasons behind the crackdown include numerous complaints from citizens about noise and people riding them in the streets and on private property.
Major Trill said most people should know where they can and can’t ride.
“And most people know you can’t ride an unregistered motor vehicle, whether it’s an ATV or a motorcycle, without being registered in the state of Florida on the roadways,” said Major Trill.
Barbosa explains he bought the ATV for his granddaughter for Christmas. It was not new, so he had been working on it to get it running. He was on a quick test ride when officers spotted him and pulled him over.
“You know I’m two blocks away from the house,” said Barbosa. “And that’s when they pulled me over and instead of giving me a warning. You know, I’m 50 years old. I’m not one of these young kids who run away, doing bad things or whatever. “
Now Barbosa is facing a criminal charge for driving without a valid license and police took the ATV to a local impound lot. He hasn’t been able to afford to get the ATV out of impound.
He said his granddaughter is disappointed, but understands.
“She’s upset. She’s upset,” said Barbosa. “[She says], it’s okay, pop pop. It’s okay.”