Rental car confusion leads to wrongful arrest

Video: Trip out of town in a rental car lands Orlando woman in handcuffs

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — A birthday trip to Georgia ended with an arrest at gunpoint for an Orlando woman because of a rental car complication.

Police in Georgia said the car Aurelie Joseph was driving was stolen. However, Channel 9’s Janine Reyes found out Joseph legally rented the car.

Joseph was pulled over for speeding, but then held at gunpoint for five minutes after she was accused of stealing the vehicle.

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Joseph and her boyfriend, DJ, rented a car to get away for the weekend to celebrate her 24th birthday.

Joseph rented a 2017 Hyundai Accent from Enterprise Rent-a-Car, and shortly after she picked up the vehicle, someone from the rental company called and said something was wrong with the rental, so she brought it back.

“He came back, handed me the keys and said, ‘Everything is OK.’ I said, ‘Are you sure?’ He said, ‘Yes, everything is fine,’” Joseph said.

However, what Joseph didn’t know at the time was the car she rented had been reported stolen by the last driver.

A spokesperson for Enterprise Rent-A-Car called it a “rental car retrieval mix-up.” They had a silver Hyundai Accent abandoned at a Salvation Army. Enterprise had the car rekeyed and picked it up, but it happened to be the wrong Hyundai Accent.

Enterprise did not verify the license plate before taking the car. The driver of the car Enterprise took walked out to find her car gone and reported it stolen, officials said.

A spokesperson with Enterprise said it's a one in a million mix-up.
 
"I just keep thinking, 'God, it could have been worse.' I could have lost DJ or he could have lost me," Joseph said.