Broke high school students, cheap grandmothers and petty criminals, beware: swiping a soda refill can lead to jail time. A Florida man has been charged with a felony for filling his complimentary water cup with soda at a fast food restaurant.
Mark Abaire, 52, of Naples, Florida, was arrested by Collier County deputies after leaving a local McDonald’s without paying for the soda he put in his complimentary water cup. While the felony theft charge he faces for the $1 theft sounds a bit like something out of a Victor Hugo novel, it turns out that Abaire is a repeat offender — thus the heightened sentence. As the local ABC News affiliate explains:
While his charge is petty theft, because of previous petty theft convictions, the charge for drinking the unpaid-for soda was increased from a misdemeanor to a felony.
In Florida, a third-degree felony can mean a sentence of up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Abaire faces additional misdemeanor counts of trespassing and disorderly intoxication. He was held in Collier County jail with bond set at $6,500. Which is $6,499 more than the price of a soda.