Watching for 9/11 Opportunists

Although the recent thefts of four Penske trucks in Kansas City had no ties to terrorism, the company has been sensitizing its rental agents to suspicious activity in advance of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Three weeks ago the company circulated advisories from the FBI to its employees, rental agents, partners, and customers, and it is sending additional reminders out prior to the 9/11 weekend.

“We always require two forms of ID in order to rent a truck and use a watch-list type computer system which will flag the names of known criminals and/or terrorists,” said Randy Ryerson, director of corporate communications for Penske Truck Leasing. “Many of our top security executives are former FBI agents. They work very closely with law enforcement and homeland security officials and adhere strictly to their reporting guidelines around thefts or reporting other suspicious circumstances.”

The FBI considers the following activities red flags for any truck rental company to watch for:

• Reluctance to provide complete personal information when completing rental paperwork.
• Providing multiple names on rental paperwork.
• Inability to recall the name used to rent a vehicle.
• Using cash for large transactions or a personal credit card in someone else’s name.
• Returned vehicles that contain
--Unusual burn marks or odors.
--Fertilizer or chemical residue.
--Blueprints, photographs, or video of buildings and landmarks.
--Extremist training manuals or literature.
--Surveillance equipment.
--Receipts for hazardous items.
--Weapons and explosives.
--Maps with sensitive locations marked.
• Inquiries about renting a truck with a wooden floor.
• Unusual questions regarding
--A vehicle’s dimensions, fuel capacity, or interior volume.
--Local sites, including government, military, law enforcement, communications, and power facilities.
• Efforts to quickly collect deposits for vehicles reported as stolen.
• Reports of abandoned rental vehicles, particularly those near
--Military bases.
--Government buildings.
--Power plants.
--Shopping malls.
• Individuals surveilling the facility.

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