Employee at SRQ Airport rental car company accused of “renting” cars off the books

Grand Theft Auto Arrest

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - An employee of a rental car company working at the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport is accused of "renting" cars off the books for his own financial gain.

Airport and Sarasota Police began investigating in October last year after learning that some rental vehicles from Hertz were missing. Between October and November, police say they found 10 cars had been taken.

Police say they zeroed in on Donald Poole, 29, of Palmetto and determined he was “renting” the vehicles and pocketing the money. He was arrested Wednesday and charged with grand theft auto, a felony.

“The scheme worked this way: the car was a legitimate car out on rental, it was returned but as an insider Mr. Poole did not indicate in their system that the car was returned," explained Chief Ted Kohuth with the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport Police Department. "And that car would be then available for Mr. Poole to rent out through his own personal gain, off the books to a friend or an associate.”

Kohuth says this is an active, on-going investigation and several rental cars remain unaccounted for and are identified as stolen.

The chief warns that anyone using these cars or who obtained a vehicle using a fake credit card or driver’s license will face charges.

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