A Florida Uber driver is accused of using a stolen rental car to give rides and then leaving the car running for weeks to avoid it being disabled, deputies said.
The 27-year-old Uber driver was renting a Chevy Equinox from a company in Orange County when he stopped making payments, according to an Oct. 26 news release from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
The rental company reported the vehicle as stolen, deputies said, and called the driver every day about the missing payments.
The company had installed devices in their rental vehicles that could be remotely activated to stop the car from restarting in the case that someone stopped paying for the vehicle, the sheriff’s office said.
But the driver knew about this feature, so instead of returning the Equinox or making the payments, he chose to leave the vehicle running for “three straight weeks” to prevent it being disabled, according to the release.
During that time, he was using the car to drive for Uber, including on the night of Oct. 24, deputies said.
The driver was taking a couple visiting from the United Kingdom to their accommodation where they would be attending their own wedding a week later, the sheriff’s office said.
A Polk County deputy saw the vehicle as it drove down the road in Davenport, Florida, and noted it was registered as stolen, according to the release.
The deputy called in backup and surrounded the driver with their patrol cars, preventing him from getting away, the sheriff’s office said.
The 27-year-old was arrested and charged with grand theft motor vehicle and driving while license suspended or revoked, according to authorities.
The couple, now left stranded, was given a ride by deputies after posing for a photo.
Davenport is about 35 miles southwest of Orlando.