On Tuesday, July 14th, 23 year old Darien L. Holmes was arrested and received a litany of charges for stealing rental cars and peddling them off on the internet as his own.
The savvy Brooklyn thief had been frequenting the airport car rental lots outside of John F. Kennedy Airport, stealing the rental cars and trying to rent them on Craigslist. To swipe the cars, Holmes used a Zip Car access key to enter the lots.
After stealing the cars, Holmes allegedly went straight to Craigslist, where he posted ads ‘looking to rent some of his cars’, charging $350 per week and $1,000 for month. In the ad, Holmes offers the available amenity of an E-Z Pass for an added fee.
Authorities finally apprehended Holmes when he was spotted cruising around Jamaica, Queens in a 2014 Red Mustang that had been reported as stolen earlier this month.
Holmes had <a href=”http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/man-steals-cars-kennedy-airport-rents-pa-article-1.2294211”>previously been a one-time employee for Avis</a>, a car rental service located outside of Kennedy Airport. The red 2014 Mustang was among the three cars he had stolen from that lot, including a Hyundai Elantra and a Ford Focus.
The Elantra matched some of the photos posted in Holmes’ Craigslist ad.
After Holmes’ arrest, the authorities recovered all three vehicles, including the keys and the swipe card used to steal the cars in the first place.
The automobile theft scheme was not Dorien L. Holmes’ first criminal offense; his court records show that he has a pending petty theft case in Queens.
Buying or renting a car offline is not an uncommon practice. In fact, 33% of car buyers say they would be willing to purchase a car on the internet.
Before you do so, however, it’s important to do your homework.
When purchasing a car online, obtain the car’s vehicle identification number, also known as the VIN. Once you do so, you can visit the National Insurance Crime Bureau website and check to see if the car’s VIN is listed as missing or stolen. You can also always contact the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for car origin inquiries.