EAU CLAIRE, Wis. — An Eau Claire man is accused of stiffing a $400 cab fare from Stevens Point.
James E. Rogers, 27, 809 Stein Court, is charged in Eau Claire County Court with a misdemeanor count of fraud on a taxicab and a felony count of bail jumping.
Rogers is scheduled to make his initial court appearance on Wednesday.
According to the criminal complaint:
An Eau Claire police officer met with a cab driver at 7:45 a.m. Jan. 16 regarding a person who skipped out on a cab fare.
The driver said she left Appleton at 3 a.m. to pick up Rogers in Stevens Point, who wanted a ride back to Eau Claire.
Rogers said his girlfriend just had a baby in Eau Claire and he needed to get back.
Rogers said his destination was in the 600 block of Cochrane Street and he was told the fare would be $400.
Rogers agreed to this and said he would also give the driver a $40 tip.
Rogers gave his debit card number to secure the trip but it was declined.
But employees with Fox Valley Cab believed his story, so they decided to go through with the trip.
The driver picked up Rogers at 5 a.m. at the Salvation Army in Stevens Point.
When they got to the 600 block of Cochrane Street in Eau Claire, Rogers told the driver to turn onto the 500 block of Cochrane Street, off of Birch Street.
When the driver stopped, Rogers exited the cab without paying but said he would be right back.
Rogers disappeared in the back yard of a residence. The driver called police after Rogers had not returned 20 minutes later.
A police officer showed the driver a booking photo of Rogers and she confirmed that was the man she gave a ride to.
The officer knew Rogers was associated with a residence in the 600 block of Cochrane Street.
After first trying to disguise his voice, Rogers opened the door for the officer.
Rogers said he was taken to Wood County on a warrant and was released from jail there. He said he had no way back to Eau Claire, so he came up with the cab idea.
Rogers said he knew he had no legitimate way to pay the cab fare when he arrived in Eau Claire. He noted what he did was stupid.
Rogers said he would pay the cab company back, but he could not produce any means to do so.
Rogers was free on a signature bond for a pending felony case in Eau Claire County, which prohibited him from committing new crimes.