What was supposed to be a four-day car rental turned into a four-month rental, and the Norcross woman responsible for the incident will now pay for her actions.
Cassandra Martin, 48, was found guilty of theft by conversion on Tuesday, more than two years after Hertz Rental Company contacted Norcross police about a missing rental car.
According to prosecutors, Jan. 13, 2017, Martin rented a Nissan Altima from the Hertz in Norcross for four days, with a return date of Jan 17.
When Jan. 17 came and went and the vehicle had not been returned, the Hertz manager and Hertz corporate officials tried to contact Martin, prosecutors said. In one call, Martin asked to extend the rental but was told that the particular car could not be extended, and needed to be returned immediately.
Hertz made a total of 30 calls to Martin over the next few months, "simply seeking a return of the vehicle rather than pursue criminal action," prosecutors said.
Martin refused, however, and disconnected the calls or just didn't answer, prosecutors said.
Hertz ultimately sent a formal letter demanding return of the car and threatening legal action to Martin’s address by certified mail, which prosecutors said she signed. Then, when the car was still not returned by May 5, Hertz reported the vehicle stolen to Norcross police.
Three days after police got involved, prosecutors said the car "mysteriously" appeared on the Hertz lot, with the keys left inside. Martin was later arrested for theft by conversion.
At trial, Martin claimed she called Hertz and was given verbal authorization to keep the vehicle, and denied that Hertz called her. She also claimed that she returned the car in March and that Hertz charged her credit card thousands of dollars.
Martin will be sentenced on Thursday.