Marine Veteran Spends 5 Days in Jail After Hertz Falsely Accused Him of Theft

By: Lauren | Published: Dec 09, 2023

A Marine veteran was recently arrested for stealing a car from the popular rental company Hertz.

However, it was almost immediately clear that he absolutely did not steal the rental car, and the strangest part of the story is that he is not alone—Hertz has apparently mischarged hundreds of people for stealing cars they had already returned.

Blake Gober’s Story

According to Marine veteran Blake Gober, he was driving a few weeks ago in Louisville, Kentucky, when he was pulled over for speeding.

Screenshot of Blake Gober as he speaks to the camera

Source: YouTube

Then, when the officer ran his information, he told Gober that there was a warrant out for his arrest due to grand larceny and theft of a rental vehicle.

Falsely Accused and Sentenced

Of course, Gober immediately knew that he did not steal a rental car. However, he was handcuffed and taken to the local police station and put behind bars anyway.

Police car drives up the road with its lights on

Source: Freepik

And unfortunately, because of the way the judicial system functions, the Marine had to figure out a way to prove his innocence before being released.

Spending Time Behind Bars

For guilty people who are arrested, this is a solid system, but for someone who is innocent, it’s completely infuriating. And Gober had to spend five horrific days incarcerated, knowing he didn’t do what they said he did.

Blake Gober on deployment in his Marine uniform

Source: YouTube

Luckily, his lawyers were able to prove that he did not commit grand larceny, and he was released after the charges were dropped.

How Did Gober’s Lawyers Prove His Innocence?

When Hertz charged Gober with grand larceny, the company stated that he stole a Nissan Sentra that he has rented back in 2019.

Photo of the back of a red Nissan Sentra vehicle

Source: David McNew/Getty Images

But fortunately, his lawyers were able to get the charges dismissed by showing the court that while Gober did rent a car from Hertz in 2019, it wasn’t a Nissan Sentra.

A Case of Mistaken Lettering

Although the difference may seem small, the fact that Gober’s lawyers could prove he rented a Nissan Versa and not a Nissan Sentra made all the difference in his case.

Light blue Nissan Versa displayed in a showroom

Source: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Hertz claimed that the law enforcement handling the case was to blame for the model mix-up, though the police report is quite clear that Hertz said Sentra.


Gober’s Story Isn’t Unique

If that was the end of the story, many might believe that it was a clerical error, either by Hertz or the police, but then Gober found out that his story was not unique.

A person walks by a Hertz rental car office

Source: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Gober, the police, and now the entire world, learned that Hertz had mischarged more than 350 people for theft of its rental cars.


Hertz Previously Paid Millions for Wrongfully Charging Customers

In fact, just last year, in February of 2022, 364 once-clients sued the company for mental and emotional damages due to wrongful arrests from theft reports.

A Hertz car rental agency stands in Manhattan

Source: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The judge ruled in their favor, and Hertz was forced to pay a whopping $168 million to the hundreds of customers it accused.


The Result of Gober’s Case Was an Outlier

For Gober, the fact that Hertz made a mistake in naming the model of the car allowed his lawyers to get the judge to dismiss his case almost immediately.

Close-up of man’s hands in handcuffs on a desk

Source: Freepik

However, many of the other hundreds of people who were arrested after supposedly stealing a rental car from Hertz weren’t so lucky.


Doing Serious Time for Crimes They Didn’t Commit

Many of the people who were arrested after being falsely charged with grand larceny by Hertz actually spent weeks and even months in jail waiting for their case to be heard by a judge.

Man in an orange jumpsuit in a jail cell holding onto the bars as some sunlight shines in

Source: Freepik

One man, Julius Burnside, spent a horrific seven months behind bars until his case was heard, and it was finally ruled that he had paid in full and returned his rental car as he claimed.


Asking Hertz to Issue an Apology

Gober is safely home and in no danger of jail time, but that doesn’t mean he has forgotten what happened to him.

Soldier holding a rifle and draped with the American flag

Source: Freepik

The Marine veteran believes that Hertz owes him – as well as everyone else it incorrectly charged – an apology and promise that it will change their system to ensure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.


Is Hertz Scamming American Citizens?

Even though Hertz claims it’s a processing problem, which very well could be the case, many are wondering whether the rental company is actually scamming people on purpose.

Hertz rental car logo on a neon sign

Source: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Now that Hertz has had to pay $168 million in restitution and has been publicly called out by the media for their egregious mistakes, if its conduct is accidental, hopefully, it will make the changes needed so that no other innocent people spend even a day in jail.