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A man and woman are accused of trying to stiff a cab driver of a $269 fare to take them from Minneapolis to Eau Claire.

Jacob M. Mazurek, 25, of Minneapolis, and Naomi E. Paternoga, 21, 1117 Fairfax St., were each charged Monday in Eau Claire County Court with a misdemeanor count of fraud on a taxicab.

Mazurek and Paternoga are both free on $200 signature bonds and return to court in April.

According to the criminal complaint:

An Eau Claire police officer was sent to L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library, 400 Eau Claire St., at 1:23 p.m. Friday for a fraud case.

A cab driver for Gopher Taxi told the officer he was summoned by two people at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport requesting a ride to the Eau Claire library.

The driver got to the library, and the meter on his vehicle showed a fee total of $269.10.

The male passenger got out and said he needed to get his credit card from someone inside the library. He then walked into the library.

The female passenger got out, stood on the sidewalk for a short time and then also went inside the library.

Neither passenger returned to settle the bill or offer an explanation, so the driver called police.

The officer obtained a description of the two people from the cab driver and went inside the library.

The officer found Mazurek and Paternoga, who matched the description, and brought them outside — where the cab driver positively identified them as his passengers.

When they were informed they owed $269, Mazurek and Paternoga began arguing with each other about who was responsible.

Neither one of them had money or credit cards to pay the cab fare.

They were arrested because the officer believed they had no intent to pay the fare.


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