ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - They wanted a rental car, but didn't want to make a reservation, or pay for it. Instead, police said, a group of thieves stole cars from rental car lots at Hartsfield Jackson International Airport.
Atlanta Police Sgt. John Chafee said there are 10,000 to 12,000 rental cars at the airport on any day. They're gassed up, ready to go, and often have the keys inside.
"Thieves know that and they're targeting those vehicles," said Sgt. Chafee.
In the past few weeks, on at least two occasions, thieves snuck onto rental car lots at the airport. On May 12, just before 6 a.m., investigators said four thieves sped off with four Nissan cars, valued at $120,000. Police said they didn't have to work very hard to do it.
"It's common for the rental car companies to leave the keys in them whether it's on the return line or ready line," said Sgt. Chafee.
A little more than a week later, another attempt to steal four more cars. This time, while trying to speed away, two of the drivers crashed their vehicles into a security barrier. All four of them gave up, jumped into a waiting SUV and got away.
Atlanta Police are now patrolling the lots more often alongside airport security. But Sgt. Chafee said rental car companies need to pitch in too.
"We're that they remove the vehicle keys from the vehicles, make sure they're not left in the vehicles at any time, and look at other steps they can take to make sure their properties are secure there," said Chafee.
Investigators are currently reviewing surveillance video to determine if the same four crooks are behind both crimes that happened earlier this month.