A man in Naples is facing a five-year jail term for stealing a soda from McDonald's; the news comes one day after a man in Florida stole $3 worth of tacos.
Mark Abaire, 52, reportedly asked the McDonald's server for a courtesy cup of water, then filled it with soda. When the restaurant's manager confronted him, Abaire refused to pay for the soda, which retails for approximately $1. Abaire then began cursing at the manager and refused to leave the premises.
Police were called and charged him with petty theft. Abaire had a history of theft convictions, and drinking the stolen soda increased the charge from a misdemeanor to a felony. He faces a penalty of $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison. Abaire is currently being held in jail, with bond set at $6,500.
In Florida, Erving Walker was charged with petty theft after stealing a $3 taco from a food truck. He pled guilty to the crime and was ordered to pay a fine of $301; Walker allegedly took the taco from a vendor and ran away without paying. When the food truck owner called police, Walker was taken into custody but resisted arrest.
"It was just a silly mistake," Walker said in a statement after his court appearance. "I apologize to everybody. I'm embarrassed about it. That's not me. I'm just trying to put it behind me and move on."
Readers have been frustrated with the charges brought against Abaire. "Now he's going to cost us all thousands to feed and house him-in prison. They should let him go with community service and save us all some money," Gordon Hilgers wrote on the Huffington Post page.
Cory Griffith, a former McDonald's manager, noted that "the corporation taught us in BSM (management class required to be a manager) if they were spending money, just let them have the soda. It's 95 percent profit; all McDonald's pays for is the CO2 and cups, lids, and straws."