Hertz employee charged with grand theft auto for illegal rental scheme
He was supposed to be working for a rental car company at the airport. Instead, he was ripping the company off and giving his friends a cheap ride, according to police, who put the brakes on his scheme.
Donald Poole officially worked for Hertz Rental Car, but he was apparently running his own, illegal side business that landed him in jail, charged with grand theft auto.
“This was just a dirty employee that became the target of our investigation," said Sarasota/Manatee Airport Authority Police Department Chief Ted Kohuth.This browser does not support the Video element.
Officers with Kohuth’s agency arrested the 29-year-old Wednesday. Investigators say when a customer would return their rental car, Poole would not put the car back into the Hertz system. Instead, police say Poole would provide off-the-books rentals to his own customers for $400 cash. His customers, however, never returned the cars.
“Mister Poole pockets $400. Hertz dosen’t even know the rental car was returned, but it was put back on the streets by mister Poole,” Kohuth said. “These were friends or associates of Mr. Poole, or friends or associates of others that were referred into Mr. Poole. It was a network specifically seeking out Mr. Poole.”
Between October and November, Poole allegedly ran his scheme with 10 rental cars. Airport Authority police have worked with Sarasota police and the Florida Highway Patrol to track down the missing cars.
Most of them were recovered in Sarasota and Manatee counties but there are still a few missing.
Kohuth expects the vehicles will be recovered and offered a stern warning:
“Do not come to Sarasota Bradenton International Airport with a fraudulent driver’s license, a fraudulent credit card, or with the intent to unlawfully take custody of any other means of a rental car from this airport facility. We will initiate a criminal investigation, target the offenders and arrest them and incarcerate them.”