Benjamin Copeland recently found that there are few things in life quite as nice as going for a leisurely drive around town in a brand-new car.

The only problem, cops say, is that Copeland has had a habit of taking joy rides in cars he doesn't own.

The 44-year-old was charged Thursday with stealing five cars from rental lots at Philadelphia International Airport, said Chief Inspector William Colarulo of the Special Investigations Unit.

Copeland, who has only one leg, was seen on video-surveillance footage hobbling on crutches as he entered the Budget and Avis car lots on Arrivals Road in the past two weeks, Colarulo said.

Once he boosted the cars, which included 2008 Ford Explorers, Expeditions and a Hyundai Azera, he would escape through a rear gate used by shuttle buses, Colarulo said.

Investigators arrested Copeland on Napa Street near Reed in South Philadelphia, where, they said, they spotted him walking toward the most recent Explorer he stole.

Police sources said Copeland admitted to stealing all the cars because he enjoyed the pleasure of driving them. When the cars ran out of gas, he abandoned them on the road and planned another visit to the airport rental lots. *