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A Kenosha man was charged with a felony after he stole a car, ran out of gas, and tried to push it to a car dealership backward.

Richard Fliess, 54, was charged by the Racine County District Attorney’s Office Friday with driving a car without the owner’s consent. The charge also carries a repeat offender enhancement. If convicted of the charge, Fliess faces up to seven years six months in prison and/or fines up to $10,000.

According to the criminal complaint, an officer with the Sturtevant Police Department saw a 2019 Hyundai facing westbound on Washington Avenue just west of South Fancher Road. The car rolled down the hill with its flashers on and traveled down a slope towards oncoming traffic. He saw Fliess driving the car out of the lane of traffic and onto the shoulder, just east of the railroad tracks.

As the officer approached, Fliess told the officer he ran out of gas, and a friend had gone to get some. He then said he needed to get the car to the dealership because a friend was going to “hook him up” with gas. But Fliess had told another officer a different story just before that.

As the officer ran his plates, the car came up stolen from an Enterprise Rent-A-Car store in the City of Waukesha. With the key still in the ignition, the officer noted eight 30 packs of beer, lottery tickets, and other personal items in the car. They also saw an empty gas can still in the car.

“It was my belief that he had been the only occupant of the vehicle, and that he ran out of gas just prior to my arrival,” the complaint reads.

The officer arrested Fliess and transported him to the Racine County Jail. At an initial hearing, Racine County Court Commissioner Alice Rudebusch set a signature bond at $1,000. A status conference is set for 10 a.m. Aug. 26.

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.