UPDATE: Man avoids $525 fine for refill at SC hospital

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- A man who faced a $525 fine for refilling an 89-cent drink at a Veterans Affairs hospital apparently will get off with a warning.

When Christopher Lewis of North Charleston, S.C., refilled his drink without paying Wednesday, a federal police officer gave him a ticket. Lewis is a construction worker and says he never noticed the signs and has refilled his drink before without paying.

VA spokeswoman Tonya C. Lobbestael said after reviewing what happened at the Ralph C. Johnson Center in Charleston, officials decided a warning was sufficient.

Lobbestael says the cafeteria at the center has signs posted in the drink machines indicating the cost of refills. Failing to pay for the refills is considered shoplifting.


Previous story:

A man who helped himself to a refill of his 89-cent drink at a Veterans Affairs hospital found it cost a lot more than he expected when he was fined $525.

WCSC-TV reports there are signs in the cafeteria telling people refills are not free. When Christopher Lewis of North Charleston, S.C., refilled his drink without paying Wednesday, a federal police officer gave him a ticket.

Lewis is a construction worker and says he never noticed the signs and has refilled his drink without paying before.

The medical center said in a statement that Lewis was ticketed for shoplifting, but that the VA doesn't determine the amount of the fine.

Lewis says he wasn't given a chance to pay for the refill and will contest the fine in federal court.


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