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Phony employee steals returned rental car from customer at lot

January 25, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A client fell victim to a thief at a car rental business near Los Angeles International Airport. The client said that when he returned the vehicle, a thief tricked him into handing over the keys.

You're returning your rental car, it's busy and vehicles are backed up. Someone who appears to be an employee says he'll take care of it. What would you do?

"I take my keys to remove it and he goes 'No, no, no, leave your keys. I need you to leave the keys so I can pull the car forward," said the client, who only wanted to be identified as "Billy."

Billy says that on January 23 he pulled into a Dollar rental facility at LAX to return a Dodge Caravan.

Billy says just as he got to the spike strip a man who appeared to be an employee approached him and asked him if he was returning the vehicle. He said yes, and the man told him to walk inside the office.

"There were about a dozen employees outside at the time receiving about 30 cars. He came up from an area where I should be trusting the employees. He was on their gated property. He looked like an employee, he had the jacket and the hat and a collared shirt underneath," said Billy.

He then heard an employee say that it happened before, that people steal cars from the area when customers are returning vehicles. Billy went outside and the rental was gone.

"An employee witnessed that he saw the man get into the car, do a three-point turn and reverse out of the long parking lot," said Billy.

He called police. A report was filed stating the car was stolen from the Dollar lot. But Billy says the people at the Dollar office blamed him and they said even though he had purchased the loss-damage waiver that states he would not be responsible, he was responsible because they claimed he violated the agreement.

"He said the insurance is void because I could not return the van key to him at the time," said Billy. " I didn't have a choice, the van key was taken from me."

Dollar Rent A Car told Eyewitness News: "The customer will not be held liable for the theft. Because we are in the midst of the investigation, we cannot comment further."

Billy says he noticed Friday afternoon on his credit card that he was charged for the rental. He says after this ordeal, he plans to fight it.

"This is just a nightmare experience," said Billy. He feels the company treated him like the criminal rather than the victim.


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