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$525 federal fine over a soda refill?

$500 Federal Fine Over a Soda Refill?

"Every time I look at the ticket, it's unbelievable to me. I can't fathom the fact that I made an $.89 mistake that cost me 525 dollars."

The South Carolina man who is now out of a job and facing federal charges over a "soda refill" will instead be getting a warning.


Here's what happened. Christopher Lewis says that after refilling his cup at a VA hospital, a police officer stopped him and asked if he was going to pay.

Lewis says he tried to pay the 89 cents, right there ... but wasn't allowed to.

He says he was taken to a room, given a $525 ticket for "theft of government property" and told not to return to the hospital.

Lewis says he wasn't trying to get away with anything, he just didn't know refills weren't free.

"I want everybody to know that I made a simple mistake. That I'm not a thief. That I'm not dishonest. I'm trying to do the right thing.""

After Lewis' story started trending online, a V-A spokesperson says that they reviewed his case and have "determined a warning in lieu of a citation is sufficient."

Join the discussion

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paintcharmer April 21 2014 at 4:06 PM

Sharpest cop i have ever seen , he is on the soda . probably his biggest arrest. Glad i didn't have to work with this moron , when i was on the job. Meanwhile while he was writing this ticket , someone probably walked out with a sonogram machine worth millon's. A ticket is in lieu of arrest , it's a wonder he didn't cuff him. get rid of this moron.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Jay April 18 2014 at 2:25 PM

This is what the VA calls service?..........God help our vets.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
1 reply
sam54ct Jay April 18 2014 at 3:02 PM

Educate yourself, the Canteens are run by private companies, they are not affiliated with the VA anymore then the Starbucks on site at many VA Hospitals.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Torpecker April 18 2014 at 2:25 PM

Simply another indication that the whole house of cards is starting to fall down . . .

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
sam54ct Torpecker April 18 2014 at 3:02 PM

Back to your cave.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
dwtomczyk April 18 2014 at 2:24 PM

15 million lawsuit (at least)

Flag Reply +3 rate up
zxc1007 April 18 2014 at 2:24 PM

Wendell Smith, the officer made a huge mistake and should be fined...

Flag Reply +4 rate up
theholly April 18 2014 at 2:24 PM

I hope that cop chokes on his next 'free' coffee...

Flag Reply +4 rate up
magicalbob April 18 2014 at 2:22 PM

Maybe they should install a video camera to catch people refilling their soda. Then they can give out $525 fines to an awful lot of people, and before you know it ... we can pay off the federal debt .... ha ha ha.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
recon27 April 18 2014 at 2:28 PM

VA cops are not highly trained

Flag Reply +5 rate up
Brenda Fay April 18 2014 at 2:16 PM

dumb, dumb, dumb,..... a warning would have been sufficient!!!!in the first place.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
fergusonm April 18 2014 at 2:14 PM

Was there a sign that specifically said "No Refills"?
If not how can they say anything?
If so... that would be a different situation.
Still... an .89 soda?! I would think that they would just insist that he pay for it or just force him to pour it out.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
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