Bend taxi driver talks of having gun in face

Says he won't let scare keep him from the job

Cab driver speaks after he says gun pulled on him

BEND, Ore. - A Bend man called a taxi for a ride home from a downtown bar late Wednesday night, but said he had no money, went inside to get some - and instead came out with an Airsoft pistol he pointed at the cabbie's face, police said.

Police were called shortly after 11 p.m. to a reported weapons offense in the area of SW Garfield Avenue, said Cpl. John Lawrence.

Officers contacted the taxi driver, Mark Dietrich, 45, of Bend, who said he gave Robert Lincoln Farnsworth, 25, a ride from a downtown bar to Farnsworth's home on Garfield Avenue, Lawrence said.

When they arrived, Dietrich said Farnsworth told him he didn't have any money to pay the fare. Farnsworth agreed to let Dietrich hold his ID card while Farnsworth went into his home to get money.

After a brief time inside the residence, the cabbie said Farnsworth returned to the taxi, pointed a gun in his face, demanding his ID back and threatening the driver, Lawrence said.

"All of a sudden, the passenger side door opens up," Dietrich said. "He grabbed me by the shoulder and went to go ahead and grab the driver's license."

Dietrich said he got out of the taxi and after the two pursued each other briefly around the cab, placed the ID card on the windshield. He was able to get away unhurt, and called police.

"I feared for my life," said Dietrich. "You know, this is something the guy took from me, I will never ever get back, is that trust."

Officers determined Farnsworth was inside a home, and he at first refused to come out, Lawrence said.

After several verbal warnings from officers and Bend police K-9 Zlatan, Farnsworth complied and was taken into custody without further incident, the corporal said.

During a search of the home, Lawrence said, officers found an Airsoft pistol believed to have been the weapon Farnsworth used.

Farnsworth was lodged in the Deschutes County Jail on local charges of second-degree robbery, menacing and theft of services. He also was held on a Teton County, Wyoming warrant for drug delivery.

Dietrich, who had just moved to Bend and taken the taxi job two weeks ago, returned to work Thursday afternoon and told NewsChannel 21 he's not going to let Wednesday night's scare keep him from driving his cab.

"There was some apprehension about coming to work today," said Dietrich. "It's kind of like that thing, get back in the saddle -- don't let it taint you, don't let it take over your life."

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