'Brazen': Police say teens, young adults behind theft of rental cars at Philadelphia International Airport

Authorities are searching for a group of young men who they say have stolen several rental cars off the lots of major car rental companies at Philadelphia International Airport. 

Investigators say the pattern of thefts began in January, when groups of two-to-six people would sneak onto the rental car lots that are often protected by fences, gates, or barriers. 

Police believe the suspects have several methods of stealing the rental cars, including simply using the keys that were left inside the vehicles by some of the car rental companies.

When the rental companies enhanced their security due to the thefts, police say the group resorted to threatening the parking lot attendant at gunpoint to open the exit gate. 


A video shared by the Philadelphia Police Department shows several vehicles lined up at the exit booth, when the driver of the first vehicle demands the gate to be opened at gunpoint.

Four vehicles are seen on video driving through the open gate. Police estimate the suspects to be between 16 and 22-years-old, often wearing dark clothing and face masks.

Frank Vanore Deputy Commissioner of Investigations with the Philadelphia Police Department held a briefing Friday and explained, "There’ve been 17 of the 23 that they’ve gotten away with recovered in Southwest Philadelphia area. Most of them are recovered in Southwest Philadelphia area. There have been three individuals arrested driving these vehicles since this began. We have not connected them to this group, so we’re not sure if they or aren’t. We’re still working on that. But, we know there are several individuals out here, especially the individuals you see with a firearm in the video that we have not identified."

He added, "In all these cases, we believe the individuals we see are about 16 to 22-years of age. They produce a gun, point it at the attendant. Tell the attendant to lift the gate. Then all the cars follow the lead car right out and get away."

Vanore went on to say, "In most of these cases, they’re wearing a mask covering their face and they have dark-colored clothing on and they’re very hard to identify unless you know them. So, we’re hoping that someone sees those videos, may know who these individuals are and gives us a call."

Anyone with information of the suspects or the thefts is asked to contact the Philadelphia Police Department's Major Crimes Unit. Tips can be left anonymously.


Tips can be submitted by calling 215-686-TIPS (8477) or texting PPD TIP (773847). Tips can also be submitted anonymously online, here. All tips are confidential.