Pursuing a somewhat unusual – and highly illegal – business plan, a would-be Uber driver recently kept a stolen Chevy Equinox rental idling continuously for three weeks between paid fares.
Hailing in possibly meme-worthy fashion from Florida, the driver, Elijah Mills, aged 27, rented the Chevy Equinox from an Orange County rental agency, then stopped making payments on the crossover while continuing to drive it as his Uber vehicle.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office nabbed the larcenous Maitland Uber entrepreneur as he was giving an Uber ride to an English couple on October 24th. U.K. residents Marc and Rhiannon were in the U.S. for their wedding and were riding in Mills’ pilfered Chevy Equinox along U.S. Route 27 near Davenport when the police swooped in to recover the vehicle, reported stolen by the rental agency.
The account seems to indicate Mills attempted to escape, with additional sheriff’s deputies obliged to use their cars to block the would-be Uber vehicle in order to force it to stop. Questioning of Elijah Mills revealed the full, astonishing details of the situation.
The sheriffs quickly found out from Mills that he was driving the vehicle without a valid license, stacking a charge of Driving While License Suspended or Revoked on top of the Grand Theft Motor Vehicle charge. Mills noted he received daily calls from the rental company, but did not answer them since he knew they were requesting payment.
Furthermore, Mills revealed that he had kept the Chevy Equinox idling continuously for the three weeks since he launched his bizarre Uber venture. The rental company uses a device that keeps unpaid vehicles from restarting, leading Mills to run the engine non-stop for around 21 days – which, of course, was also a confession he intended to steal the rental vehicle from the beginning.
The Polk County sheriff remarked that “we talk about crazy criminals, but this is the craziest criminal we’ve had in a while.” He also pointed out “now someone’s going to buy that rental car one day and have no idea it idled for three weeks.”
While Mills was cuffed and whisked away to the hoosegow, the sheriff deputies posed with riders Marc and Rhiannon for a memorable photo, then provided them with a free ride back to their honeymoon rental.
You can watch the sheriff describing the strange incident here: