It used to be the case that if you walked up to a rental-car counter and were under the age of 25, the transaction would typically not end with you getting a set of keys. Most rental-car agencies allow younger renters today, but they keep their crash-prone hands off the high-end models.
All of which only adds to the mystery of the arrest this weekend of two California teen-agers, who were pulled over after renting not just a $12 million vacation home, but a $240,000 McLaren 12C — all with stolen credit cards, and apparently limitless chutzpah.
The sheriff's office in Sonoma County, Calif., pulled over the 616-hp orange McLaren shown above on Thursday evening, taking two 19-year-old men into custody, Mohannad Halaweh and Nhimia Kahsay. The McLaren had been reported stolen, because the pair had used a purloined credit card to make a $13,000 rental payment for it, along with a $27,000 rental for a vacation home in Glen Ellen, Calif, where police broke up a large party the night before.
According to the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, the pair were pulled over on the way back from a court hearing for Halaweh — on another set of charges alleging he tried to buy $10,000 in Apple products with someone else's credit card. He now faces charges of credit card fraud, receiving stolen property, identity theft and vehicle theft.
As for the rental company? Club Sportiva, the exotic car club and rental shop in San Jose, Calif., that owned the McLaren 12C, said today that it has a strict policy generally barring rentals to drivers under the age of 25 — and that the perpetrators in this case presented a fake ID to go along with the stolen credit card when the McLaren went out. While they have fine taste in sports cars, this may be the last one they sample for years to come. Being the parent of a teenager I have to say this was really stupid-financially at least-but if you're going to go down jacking a car at least go down big!