BOUNTIFUL, Utah (ABC4) — A Bountiful woman sat down with ABC4 after she was arrested this past weekend. She said the arrest was for stealing a rental car she returned back in March. A Utah criminal law attorney took a look at the case and said he believes it escalated to felony charges too quickly.  

Jennifer Travis said she went for a run this weekend. Just moments after she returned home, she said there someone began pounding on the front door. It was a Bountiful police officer. She was arrested.

“When you’re calling desperately to be bailed out, and you’re calling friends and trying to explain that apparently, it all happened back in February, it all sounds so, like, yeah, it sounds made up,” Travis said.  

Travis told ABC4 that it took about six hours before she made bail. During that time, her children were home alone. She said that was the hardest part about the whole ordeal. She said her husband died of suicide nearly four years ago and having police show up on their doorstep banging on the door, took them back to that day.  

Not only did the arrest bring back hard memories for the family, but Travis said it put her life on hold. She was supposed to return to school full-time this week. However, due to the pending criminal case, the program she was going to enter has placed her acceptance on hold.

“I quit my job to be a full-time student, and this feels like a huge setback,” she said.  

It all started back in November. Travis said she was in an accident and got a rental car from Enterprise while her car was in the shop. She said her insurance stopped coverage in February when her car was finished at the shop. However, she planned to continue renting the car on her own. She had already paid a deposit and thought that would cover her out-of-pocket costs for the additional rental period.  

In March, she began receiving text messages from Enterprise. However, she said they were threatening in nature, and she thought they may be spam. Finally, she received an email saying she needed to return the car immediately or face legal action.  

According to Travis, she returned the car after business hours on March 13. The next day, she got an email from Enterprise asking her to rate her experience. She also got an invoice for the rental period. She thought things were settled, that is, until this past weekend when the officer showed up on her doorstep.  

“I paid for the car that I rented, and I returned it when I was done with it,” she said. “And I wasn’t trying to take advantage of anybody. I figured I paid for the time that I used it, which I did because I got the bill stating that.”  

According to the arresting documents obtained by ABC4, police first met with the Enterprise Bountiful branch on March 8. It states that by March 16 the car still hadn’t been returned. However, Travis’ documents from Enterprise show otherwise.  

“In this case, she does have a receipt and it appears she returned the vehicle,” Utah criminal attorney Clayton Simms stated.

Simms told ABC4 that this is an interesting case for many reasons. Looking at the arrest documents, there is no indication that officers ever contacted Travis prior to the arrest. He said in this type of case, in which the suspect isn’t accused of a violent crime, he said officers should have gone out of their way to speak with Travis and get her side of the story.  

“I think Enterprise has a lot of explaining to do and shouldn’t have gone to the criminal justice system just yet,” said Simms. He told ABC4 that if anything, this case should have been a small claims case and that it serves as a good reminder for the public.

“This could happen to anyone,” he stated. “It’s unfortunate that anyone could be falsely accused and when it does happen, it has real-life consequences, so prosecutors and police need to be certain before they file charges.” 

ABC4 reached out to Enterprise. The Bountiful branch could not speak to the media. The corporate office released the following statement regarding the case:

We take the reporting of a vehicle as stolen very seriously given the personal impact it can have on individual lives. As such, identifying a vehicle that we believe has been converted and reporting it to local authorities as stolen is a last resort step for Enterprise Holdings, taking place only after other policy and procedures have been followed and exhausted, including multiple efforts to resolve the issue with the customer.”   

ABC4 also reached out to Bountiful Police Department for comment. There has been no response.