Following a stealthy pursuit across the streets of San Francisco to recover his stolen rental van, Sharky Laguana, owner and CEO of Bandago van rentals, is continuing to advocate for a change in California’s rental laws that prohibits agencies from using GPS to track and locate potentially stolen vehicles.
In a recent Washington Post article, Laguana recounted the ordeal, especially his frustration with his inability to use the van’s GPS to remotely track it when the renters failed to return it on time and the San Francisco Police Department’s refusal to apprehend the stolen van when Laguana spotted it.
“The police said they weren’t going to investigate and they wouldn’t even accompany us to try and get the vehicle back — even though we knew exactly where it was located,” he told the news outlet.
Currently, California law prohibits rental companies from tracking their vehicles until they have been missing for five days past the return date. Missing rental vehicles are considered a contract dispute between the owner and the renter.
Since the incident, Laguana has been working to pass a bill sponsored by California Assemblymember Phil Ting. AB 2620 "would shorten the process of reporting a rental car as embezzled to ease the process of recovering stolen vehicles for rental car companies." The bill has passed a safety committee.
Laguana, and other rental operators, believe that criminals are exploiting rental agencies, since operators can’t report vehicles stolen until five days after they were due returned. By then, he says, vehicles can be chopped for parts, abandoned, or shipped halfway across the world.
While Laguana wants to decrease the number of days an operator must wait to report a missing vehicle, he also wants the ability to text customers who are an hour late returning their vehicle — a compromise he feels privacy advocates can get behind.