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Man hit with $525 fine for refilling his soda without paying

(Photo Illustration by Mario Tama/Getty Images) Photo: Image by Getty Images

Man hit with $525 fine for refilling his soda without paying

By Phyllis Stark. CREATED Apr 17, 2014

A South Carolina man earned a $525 federal fine, and lost his job, because he refilled his soda in a cafeteria without paying for the second helping.

As Charleston’s WCSC (Live 5 News) reports, local construction worker Christopher Lewis was refilling his beverage at the local VA Medical Center at lunchtime on Wednesday when a law enforcement officer grabbed him by the arm and asked if he was going to pay the $.89 for the drink.
 
Lewis claims he was unaware that refills weren’t free, despite signs reportedly posted in the cafeteria, and admitted he had refilled without playing on other occasions.
 
A ticket for the whopping fine was issued by the Federal Police Force, something Lewis calls “unbelievable.” A hospital spokesperson told WCSC it was a "theft of government property,” and says it wasn’t the first time Lewis had refilled without paying. The spokesperson also said Lewis was aggressive during the confrontation.
 
“I can't fathom the fact that I made a $0.89 mistake that cost me $525,” Lewis tells the station.
 
“Lewis says he tried to pay the $0.89 right there, but wasn't allowed to,” WCSC reports. “He says he wasn't given the chance to pay the cashier either. ‘I never had an option to make right what I had done wrong,’” he said.
 
He also lost his job as a result of the incident as he was told not to return to the property.
 
"I'm done there, at the VA hospital. I'm not allowed to go on the premises anymore,” he told WCSC. “I asked him can I still work on the job site and just bring my lunch and not got to the cafeteria and he said he wanted me off the premises."
 
Lewis plans to contest the fine in federal court.
 
Phyllis Stark

Phyllis Stark

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Phyllis Stark is the Digital Executive Producer - National Content for Journal Broadcast Group.