SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Secretary of State’s Office is coming down hard on a renegade cabbie operating in St. Louis. Yet the convict appears to be continuing to try evading the law while driving a cab that looks like the real thing.
The secretary of state’s office began investigating immediately after our reports last week. Within days, they went into action to keep Mahad Abdi from picking up any more passengers.
The St. Louis Taxicab Commission has called him “a renegade” and says he should not be driving a cab.
Abdi has criminal convictions for harassment and assault. Wilson Taxi fired him several years ago after reports he threatened to decapitate bank customers and police officers. He kept driving.
Taxicab commissioners then revoked his license. Abdi continued to defy the law - this time under a new name - Royal Taxi - and an Illinois license plate we found registered to a Belleville, Illinois UPS store. A representative from the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office told us that’s illegal. The office worked with the Missouri State Highway Patrol to pull his plate.
However, the next day we found another Illinois plate on Abdi’s cab. It was a different number that we asked the IL SOS to check. A representative said that plate expired and the office again worked with the Missouri State Highway Patrol to take the second plate.
“I’m still befuddled at why this guy is still out on the street and how it’s happening,” said a woman who asked not to be identified.
She said Abdi gave her 23-year-old son a frightening ride. It was in October 2018 and Uber prices at the time were high. She said her son saw Abdi’s cab waiting in Soulard at the corner of Menard and Allen. Her son then became scared when he told Abdi to go one way and the cab driver went another.
Fox 2 built a map to show the drastic difference in routes. The passenger asked Abdi to take him to south St. Louis County. He said Abdi passed the 55 South exit ramp. He thought maybe it was just a mistake until the cab took another wrong turn, taking him in the opposite direction. That’s when the 23-year-old demanded to get out at the edge of Lafayette Park on Missouri Avenue.
“My son kept questioning him, ‘What are (you) doing?’ ‘Where are (you) going?’ and when they finally got to Lafayette Park, my son became overly alarmed and demanded to get out of the cab,” the woman said.
Abdi reportedly attacked him over the fare. St. Louis prosecutors have charged the passenger with what he claims is self-defense.
The St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office said it has reviewed the matter closely and is taking the investigation seriously. A spokesperson pointed out that the charges against the passenger were based on the evidence presented by police.
We will continue to sort through how different agencies appear to be taking different approaches to this renegade cabbie.
Meanwhile, if you’re wondering about your cab, ask to see a taxi cab license that looks like a regular driver’s license, and make sure your cab has a permit sticker on the back window with a matching number.