Police warns online rent-a-car providers: Beware of carjackers

Reynaldo Santos Jr

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The Philippine National Police (PNP) has uncovered a new carjacking scheme that targets utility vans of rent-a-car operators.

MANILA, Philippines – Police authorities have discovered that small entrepreneurs who are renting out one or less vehicles are the new targets of carjackers.

The Philippine National Police Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) has uncovered a new carjacking scheme in which 2 rental car providers were victimized on February 19, Sunday, as reported by anti-carnapping operatives in Central Luzon.

The carnapped vehicles – 2 late model Hyundai Starex vans – were stolen on separate occasions in Bataan and Pampanga. The vans were offered for hire by their respective owners in the advertising site Sulit.com.

Chief Supt Leonardo A Espina, PNP-HPG director, said that the syndicates posed as “clients” who made rental arrangements for the vehicle.

The “clients” provided the driver of the hired vans with instructions to bring the vehicle to a nearby gasoline station where other members of the syndicate were positioned.   

Once all were on board, the suspects gave orders to the driver to proceed to a given destination, but kicked the driver out of the vehicle along the way. The syndicates then sped off with the vehicle.

Espina explained that rental car operators who advertise their services on the internet are most vulnerable to this modus operandi because of the ease of creating a scenario to stage a carjacking. “The online ads on the internet provide carjacking syndicates the opportunity to surf the web for targets,” Espina said.

Espina warned that possible targets of this modus operandi are similar late model utility vans, since they are in demand in the used car market.

Freelance car rental providers may not enjoy full protection from such scheme.

Espina explained that these providers do not have franchise to operate a rent-a-car business, violating the Land Transportation and Trafic Code of the Philippines, which prohibits the illegal operation of public utility vehicles or “colorum” operations. – Rappler.com

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