by Paul Bowers
Charleston police recently used an automatic license plate reader to nab a car that had been stolen from a rental company in West Columbia.
According to an employee of Hertz Rental Car in West Columbia, a customer with a Columbia address named Courtney Michelle Thomas rented a silver 2013 Chevy Cruze from the lot on April 6 and did not return it by the end of the rental agreement on April 9. On May 21, the Hertz employee reported the car as stolen to police at Columbia Metropolitan Airport.
On Sun. June 9, a Charleston officer was using an automatic license plate reader on I-526 west of the Westmoreland Bridge when the device gave a notification for a silver Chevy Cruze headed west. The device told the officer that the license plate on the vehicle had possible arrest warrants associated with it, and as the officer followed the car, he was able to confirm that the car had been stolen.
After following the vehicle into West Ashley, the officer pulled the driver over in a hotel parking lot on Savannah Highway and asked the driver, Courtney Thomas, to step out of the vehicle. Thomas complied and was arrested on a charge of possession of a stolen motor vehicle, the car was towed, and Hertz was notified.