A 28-year-old Eau Claire man is suspected of driving off without paying for gas more than 40 times at area Kwik Trip locations, resulting in a loss of more than $3,000.
Eric J. Lamson, 1307 Jefferson Court, is facing seven felony counts of bail jumping and seven misdemeanor counts of theft in Eau Claire County Court.
Tori L. Pritchard, 23, of Eau Claire, also was charged with four misdemeanor counts of theft in connection with the thefts.
According to the criminal complaint:
On May 4, Sept. 1 and Sept. 21, separate gas theft incidents were reported at Kwik Trip, 3530 Mall Drive, town of Washington.
In a citizen’s report to the Eau Claire County sheriff’s office, the complainant indicated the same vehicle, which belongs to Lamson, was involved in all three incidents.
Images from the May 4 incident show Lamson pumping gas and leaving the property without paying. Pritchard, his girlfriend, was seen pumping fuel into the vehicle during the Sept. 1 and 21 incidents.
Pritchard, who wasn’t charged for the Sept. 1 incident, also is accused in being involved in thefts of gas on June 25 and Sept. 13, both at Kwik Trip, 1506 Black Ave., and Sept. 14 at Kwik Trip, 108 W. Madison St.
During the June incident, a still image showed Pritchard getting into the driver’s seat while the gas pump was still in the vehicle. She is accused of pumping $36.62 into a vehicle registered to her father.
On Sept. 13, $30 in gas was stolen, and on Sept. 14, $43.09 of gas was taken; Kwik Trip provided a still images of the female suspect in both thefts, and a police officer recognized her as Pritchard.
On Oct. 18, an Altoona police officer spoke to an employee of Kwik Trip’s corporate office, and she reported Lamson was suspected of having driven off without paying for gas more than 42 times at different Kwik Trip locations, resulting in a loss of over $3,000.
The woman reported multiple gas drive-offs at the store at 2929 Meadowlark Lane and said she knew the suspect to be Lamson.
On July 9, she said Lamson pulled up to the Altoona store and pumped $49.92 worth of gas into his vehicle and left. On July 28 he pumped $20.01 worth of gas into the same vehicle at the store. He made no attempt either time to pay.
The corporate employee also provided Eau Claire police with a list of the drive-offs, along with photos. Among those included a May 19 incident, where still images showed Lamson pumping gas into his vehicle at Kwik Trip, 108 W. Madison St. Again, he didn’t pay, and the theft totaled $49.04.
Gas thefts totaling $93.10 also were reported to police via a citizen report form at that location on June 30 and Sept. 14.
Still images also show Lamson getting gas on Aug. 20 at Kwik Trip, 2232 Otter Road, and on Sept. 11 at the same location. The combined thefts totaled $78.99.
On Aug. 28, the same gold Impala involved in other incidents was involved in a theft of $54.80 worth of gas at the Kwik Trip, 4395 N. Town Hall Road.
A still image of the vehicle and its license plate number was obtained, but it’s unknown if Lamson or Pritchard pumped gas during the incident.