PHILADELPHIA -- A man is under arrest, charged with stealing rental cars at Philadelphia International Airport, police said. According to police, Benjamin Copeland was spotted on surveillance video. They said he was stealing the cars while on crutches because he only has one leg.
The five cars were taken from the Avis and Budget rental centers over the past two weeks.
Police allege that he would steal a Ford Explorer or Expedition, drive it until it ran out of gas and then return to steal another one.
Police said Copeland's downfall was that he had a specific pattern. Although the scheme was clever and new, detectives said they set up surveillance and caught him on tape climbing aboard parked, out-of-service shuttle buses.
"What he's doing is he's boarding a shuttle bus, and apparently on the shuttle bus there's some type of a button that you push that opens the gate, similar to a garage door opener. What he would do was he would gain access to these lots," Inspector William Colarulo said.
Sources told NBC 10 that Copeland admitted he did it. Police said that, with his record, they don't expect Copeland to be leaving jail anytime soon.
"Some of them are for robberies, aggravated assault, drugs. So, as far as I'm concerned, he shouldn't be walking the streets of Philadelphia," Colarulo said.
Copeland was awaiting an arraignment hearing Friday afternoon, police said. Budget and Avis had no comment, Cahn reported.