This week's #FelonyFriday participant comes from Auburn, New York, where an individual was arrested for stealing a rental car she hadn't rented. In fact, the reason she hadn't rented the car originally was that she was precluded from renting. And in those cases where an individual needs a car but is unable to rent, a friend or close "business associate" generally rents the car and the story only makes the news when some criminal behavior is introduced.
The scam ordinarily works like this:
- Individual A (Ms. Holmes) is blocked from renting a car for one of many reasons, including notation on a "Do Not Rent" list or absence of a valid license/credit card.
- Individual A (Ms. Holmes) solicits friend/business associate to rent a car in another name.
- Friend/business associate voluntarily hands over the keys to Individual A (Ms. Holmes). This is against the rental agreement and both parties end up on the "Do Not Rent" list if caught.
In the case out of Auburn, New York, the friend/business associate was cool with the first two steps of the scam, including renting a white 2017 Hyundai Accent she didn't need (of course, no one truly needs a 2017 Hyundai Accent but we digress). The friend/business associate ostensibly came to realize that her name was on the rental contract and she would be fully financially responsible if something happened to said Accent. So she didn't hand over the keys to Ms. Holmes.
Ms. Holmes snatched the keys and bolted. According to the Deputy Police Chief in Auburn:
"For whatever reason, Holmes could not rent a car herself ... The complainant was holding onto the keys and (Holmes) ripped them out of her hand. When you steal something directly from a person like that, it becomes a felony."
And of course, Holmes was caught and faces two charges, fourth-degree grand larceny (a Class E felony) and third-degree unauthorized use of a motor vehicle (a Class A misdemeanor). Her (former) friend/business associate got the rental vehicle back and also received an valuable life lesson on avoiding accepting financial responsibility for others!