NAPLES, FL - June 22, 2020 - According to an online news report published on nbc-2.com, a 55-year-old man was arrested by the Lee County Port Authority for allegedly stealing rental cars at the Southwest Florida International Airport. The suspect was arrested and booked into the Lee County Jail.
According to the suspect's arrest report, a Port Authority law enforcement officer was called to the Avis rental car garage at Southwest Florida International Airport. The caller stated that there was a suspicious person on their property. The arrest was made on Sunday. The news story states that the Avis car rental company manager explained to law enforcement that he witnessed a man driving off of their rental parking lot in a black Hyundai Elantra. One of the other rental car rental employees stated to law enforcement that the suspect stated that he was from the Avis-Budget office located in Naples, Florida. The Avis employee stated that the suspect stated that he was there to return the car to the Naples office.
The report states that the investigators located the stolen black Hyundai Elantra abandoned close to the front of the car rental return lane. Inside the rental car, law enforcement discovered numerous things inside the car that had a man's name written on them. The online news report states that the suspect is also being accused of stealing rental cars from other rental car business. The news report claims that the suspect allegedly stole cars from the Hertz rental cars office at the Southwest Florida International Airport.
As the man was being taken to the Lee County Jail, the suspect stated that he was feeling short of breath and could not breathe. The law enforcement officer took the suspect to the Gulf Coast Medical Center to have the suspect medically evaluated. The suspect was examined, and then he was cleared to be transported and processed in at the Lee County Jail. The suspect is facing two counts of grand theft auto, according to the online news report.
Fraudulent Retention of a Rental Car - Florida Statute §812.133
According to Florida Statute §812.133, any individual who deliberately keeps a rental car following the completion of the car rental duration and without the approval of the rental car company commits a felony in Florida. Unauthorized retention of a rental car is classified as theft in the State of Florida. Also, anyone who takes possession of a motor vehicle or rental car by deception, fraud, deceit, or trickery is guilty of a felony offense. In Florida, Grand Theft Auto is the unlawful stealing of another's automobile valued at $300 or more. This is a felony offense in the State of Florida.
The Penalties for Grand Theft Auto in Florida
The type of felony charge will depend on several factors, such as the value of the stolen motor vehicle. The following are the potential punishments and penalties if found guilty of Grand Theft Auto in Florida.
- Motor Vehicles with a value of <$20,000 - The punishments are 1) up to five years in jail or up to five years probation, 2) and a fine of up to $5,000.
- Motor Vehicles with a value between $20,000 and $100,000 - The punishments are 1) up to fifteen years in jail or up to fifteen years probation, 2) and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Motor Vehicles with a value of $100,000.01 or more - The punishments, if found guilty, are 1) up to 30 years in prison, and 2) a fine of up to $10,000.
- Law Enforcement Trailers - The punishments, if found guilty, are 1) up to 30 years in prison, and 2) a fine of up to $10,000.
- Getaway Vehicles That Cause Damage to the car or other people's property - The punishments, if found guilty, are up to 30 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
Other factors that will determine the defendant's charges could include the defendant's intent and the events in which the alleged Grand Theft Auto occurred.