Three people who allegedly left a Rice Lake restaurant without paying a bill for just over $37 are, collectively, facing more than a dozen felony and misdemeanor charges, according to a complaint filed Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019, in Barron County Circuit Court.
The defendants, all of Rice Lake, are identified as John E. Ackerman Jr., 34, 604 N. Wilson Ave., Christina M. Gilles, 40, 401 W. Evans St., and Naomi E. Paternoga, 23, 115 E. Gates St., all of Rice Lake.
According to the complaint, three Rice Lake officers responded to a call from Nancy’s Northside Restaurant on the afternoon of Oct. 2 on a report that three people had just left without paying for their meals.
Two officers located the suspects nearby, while the third officer took statements from a restaurant employee. The employee said defendant Ackerman tried to pay for the meal with a debit card. He was told the restaurant doesn’t accept credit cards and was directed to a nearby automatic teller machine.
But he soon left, as did the two women who were with him, later identified as defendants Paternoga and Gilles. The employee followed them outside and told them they needed to pay up.
They replied that they needed to go to a credit union to withdraw money. The employee asked the three to leave their identifications with her before they left. They said they didn’t have IDs. Defendant Paternoga allegedly handed a credit union debit card to the employee and said the three “had to go figure this out.” The employee said there was nothing to figure out and they needed to pay up. But the three then walked off.
After police arrested the three and checked court records, it was discovered that defendant Ackerman was free on bond in connection with a Barron County felony methamphetamine possession charge.
Court records also show defendant Gilles was free on bond in connection with felony child abuse and battery charges, in addition to a felony bail jumping charge.
Defendant Paternoga was free on bond in connection with felony cases in Chippewa, Eau Claire and Dunn counties, including identity theft, meth possession and 10 counts of felony bail jumping.
In the latest case, each defendant is charged with misdemeanor fraud. Each was also charged with felony bail jumping, including Ackerman, one count, Gilles, two counts, and Paternoga, six counts.