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Arrested Over Forgotten Car, Agent Claims

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (CN) - After failing to retrieve one of its Cadillacs for two months, Enterprise had a rental agent arrested for its supposed theft, the worker claims in court.

Anthony Williams sued Enterprise, Central Flying Service and two managers with those companies in Pulaski County Circuit Court.

The complaint notes that Williams had worked as a transportation assistant for Central Flying, which acts as a rental agent for Enterprise, until the stealing allegations got him fired in October 2010.

Williams claims he picked up a Cadillac SUV in late July or August 2010 for Enterprise and brought it back to Central Flying's parking lot. The vehicle remained on the lot for some 45 days "in plain view of Enterprise employees," and Williams made several requests that Enterprise pick up the vehicle, the complaint states.

As the owner of a motorcycle, Williams allegedly needed to rent an SUV so that he could drive family members to the funeral of a cousin who died on Sept. 30, 2010.

Williams claims that an Enterprise employee told him they had no such vehicle available, but that he should rent the Cadillac left on Central Flying's parking lot.

After filling out the forms to rent the vehicle from Oct. 3, 2010, to Oct. 5, 2010, Williams washed the vehicle on Central Flying's property and even honked the horn at his supervisor as he left, according to the complaint.

The afternoon he was supposed to return the car, a Little Rock police detective arrested Williams based on an allegedly false report from Enterprise manager Brandi McDermott, "who inaccurately stated facts including: a. That the Cadillac had been missing since August 26, 2010, for 43 days; b. That she tried but was unable to locate the vehicle during those 43 days; and c. That CFS employees were not allowed to rent Enterprise rental cars at CFS."

Williams says Enterprise and the police located the vehicle at his residence by contacting OnStar tracking services. They allegedly refused, however, to let Williams retrieve his rental paperwork or anything else from the vehicle, according to the complaint. Unable to find a copy of the rental contract in his home, Williams claims he was immediately arrested.

Released on bond, Williams allegedly went in to Central Flying to try to clear up the mistake with his manager, Taylor Holbert. Williams claims he asked for a copy of the contract and a copy of the surveillance tapes from Central Flying's parking lot to prove the time period that the Cadillac was on the lot.

Holbert, however, "seemed disinterested in plaintiff's predicament and generally uncooperative in assisting plaintiff's effort to clear his name, including telling plaintiff he would have to get a subpoena to get surveillance tapes and then firing plaintiff from CFS because of the arrest warrant," the complaint states. "Plaintiff was also fired from his second job as a Target Store Security Officer and has had difficulty finding other employment because of this wrongful termination and the criminal charges."

Williams says a publication known as "Slammer" published his picture from Oct. 18, 2010, to Oct. 21, 2010. The article allegedly stated that Williams was a criminal who had been arrested for felony theft of property.

The Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney dismissed the felony charges about a year later, but only after Williams lost two jobs and was unemployed, according to the complaint.

Williams seeks more than $150,000 in damages for negligence, wrongful discharge, outrage and constructive fraud. He is represented by Guy Satterfield.

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