It’s not the ’63 Chevy Impala from Boyz n the Hood. And it isn’t the late-model Cadillac driven by shooters in the 1996 killing of rap star Tupac Shakur.
Street cred aside, suspects in a drive-by shooting in Denver rented the iconic Smart Fortwos from Car2Go.
The rentals, typically done through a smartphone app, show how the city’s street gangs are adopting technology.
A witness told police that two of the distinct white and light blue cars from the Car2Go fleet had fled the scene after 22-year-old Daerius Churchill was gunned down Jan. 4 on the corner of Bruce Randolph Avenue and St. Paul Street.
A surveillance camera at a nearby business recorded three of the vehicles in the area, according to a search warrant affidavit.
It has proved difficult for Denver police detectives to track the drivers.
Car2Go customers typically pick up the cars from public parking spaces, use cellphone apps to get them started and then leave the car in public areas when they are finished using them. The renters never come face-to-face with the company’s employees.
Officials with Car2Go in Denver told detectives that GPS tracking systems on the car allow them to identify which cars are moving at any given time, the search warrant said. That should have narrowed the list to investigate.
However, the detective wrote in his affidavit that he and the Car2Go manager uncovered multiple cars that had been rented under fictitious names through a call center.
The company told police it records phone conversations between its representatives and customers. It also logs the caller ID numbers, the search warrant affidavit said.
Denver police Cmdr. Mark Fleecs, who oversees the department’s gang bureau, said he could not comment on the ongoing investigation.
Car2Go customers are vetted through an online application process, said Dacyl Armendariz, a company spokeswoman.
“It’s not like just anybody can jump in a car and drive away,” she said.
Despite the search warrant’s assertion that cars were rented through a call center, Armendariz said she was not familiar with that method.
The company is cooperating with police in the investigation. As for the number of cases where Car2Go was used in a drive-by, Armendariz said, “I’ve never heard of that.”