Police Say A So. Fla. Man Asked For A Ride To Memphis, Then Refused To Pay
Lucilo Perez was arrested for allegedly asking a cab driver to take him to Memphis. When he arrived, he refused to pay the $3,000 cab fare.
A South Florida cabbie was tricked into making a 20 hour trip from Miami to Western Tennessee over the weekend. And he ended up getting stiffed, not getting a penny for his efforts.
CBS4'S Stephen Stock spoke with the cab driver victim by telephone and his colleagues on the streets about getting shorted on a very long trip.
From 7 at night to 4:30 in the morning, 6 days a week for 29 years Jean Desir has driven a taxi on the streets of Miami.
Despite two robberies, one at gunpoint, and countless riders who've stiffed him on fares, this past year has been toughest of all economically.
"This year has been really really hard," the 54 year-old said, "really hard."
That's what makes the story of Desir's fellow taxi-driver so tough to swallow this holiday season.
Police say Miami resident Luciolo Perez convinced a cabbie from Flamingo Taxis to drive him to Memphis, Tennessee. That's a 20 hour cab ride to the middle of the country.
Then police say Perez stiffed the driver of $3,000 in cab fare, plus expenses such as gas and meals, which the cabbie paid with his own credit card.
CBS4 News spoke by phone with the cab driver, who drove this taxi half way across the country and back.
His name is Lelis Almeira.
Almeira refused CBS4's request for an on-camera interview, saying he was tired frustrated and angry and, "I just want to put this incident behind me."
"(The money came) out of his own pocket," said Almeira's colleague at Flamingo Taxi, Joel Lubin.
That's why Flamingo Taxi dispatcher Lubin is angry too. He said that a scam such as this hurts drivers especially hard, given the tough economic times they've suffered through this year.
"He didn't have to do it," Lubin said. "He spent all his money for the expenses. He put everything for meals on his credit card expecting to get paid."
CBS4 reporter Stephen Stock asked: "And this happens?"
"This happens," Lubin said. "He's kind of lost faith in humanity. And I don't blame him."
"We ain't going to promise something we don't have," said the woman in Memphis whom Perez had traveled to visit, Nellie Rose.
Rose insists she didn't have the money and made that clear to Perez.
"I don't know why the cab driver and him came on (to Memphis).That's between them," Rose said.
Memphis police arrested Perez and charged him with theft over $1,000.
Now, in addition to trying to find $3,000 in cab fare, Perez must find enough money to bond out of jail.
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