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Tampa, Florida -- Police say criminals are stealing rental cars and it is a trend they fear could get worst in the Bay area.

Some cars are being stolen right from a person's drive way or parking lot.

But why a rental car? Police say it's because rental cars blend in with the cars around them. For Loretta Jackson of St. Petersburg, her niece's rental car was stolen right out of the driveway.

"She wasn't in there but a split second and they came out and stole the car," Loretta says.

A few days later, another stolen rental car involved in this fatal hit and run. Tampa International Airport has had five rental cars stolen in just 30 days.

But why a rental car? Police say it's because rental cars blend in with the cars around them. WTSP

Tampa Police Department Sergeant Greg Van Heyst says many times these stolen cars are involved in other crimes.

"They go use it to do a crime burglary, robbery, deal drugs. That is quite common," says Sgt. Van Heyst.

Sgt. Van Heyst says within the last month he's seen more cases of thieves stealing rental cars.

"So many rental vehicles here in Florida. You don't stick out. That's why they trend towards it. They get away with it longer," says Sgt. Van Heyst.

Loretta's family eventually found the rental car, but now she's trying to find ways to make sure she doesn't fall victim again.

"Don't leave your car out," says Sgt. Van Heyst.

Police also say don't let your car be a crime of opportunity. That means locking your doors and parking in a well lit lot.

And the first thing to do if someone steals your rental car -- file a police report.

To find more information about rental car insurance and what is covered if you were to fall victim, here are some links:

American Express Card Car Rental Insurance

Car rental insurance tips

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