CHARLESTON, S.C. – A Charleston man was hit with a federal fine for refilling his drink without paying the 89 cents.
According to WCSC, the on-site construction worker says he didn’t know refills at the VA Medical Center in Charleston came at a price.
Christopher Lewis now faces federal charges.
Lewis was given a ticket by the Federal Police Force at the VA Medical Center after he refilled his soda without paying the 89 cents.
A hospital spokesperson called it a “theft of government property.”
The 89 cent mistake cost him $525, and he is now out of a job.
A hospital spokesperson told WCSC that signs are posted in the cafeteria informing patrons that refills aren’t free. Lewis says he never noticed the signs.
It was reported that Lewis tried to pay the small charge, but wasn’t allowed to.
The medical center released the following statement:
The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center is fortunate to have a highly trained Federal police force to ensure the safety of our patients, visitors and employees. As Federal police they are responsible for enforcing the law. Today a Federal citation was issued for shoplifting in the VA cafeteria to an individual who stated to VA police he had not paid for refills of beverages on multiple occasions, even though signs are posted in the cafeteria informing patrons refills are not free. Shoplifting is a crime. The dollar amount of the ticket is not determined by VA as it is a Federal citation. The citation may be paid or the recipient may choose to appear in Federal court to contest it.
Lewis says he will contest the fine in federal court.