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$1 felony: Florida man charged over soda bill at McDonald's

$1 felony: Local authorities in Florida say a man faces felony charges after refusing to pay for a cup of soda at a McDonald's restaurant.

By Michail VafeiadisContributor / April 24, 2012

$1 felony: A McDonald's sign is displayed at a McDonald's restaurant in East Palo Alto, Calif., April 20.

Paul Sakuma/AP

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A Florida man faces felony charges after refusing to pay $1 for a cup of soda in an East Naples McDonald’s restaurant.

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The local manager told sheriff's deputies that Mark Abaire filled a courtesy cup with soda and walked out of the building without paying. A McDonald's employee told him the cup was only for water. However, Abaire filled it with soda from the fountain machine and went to sit outside the restaurant. 

The police report stated that when the manager asked him to pay, Abaire declined, cursed at him and refused to leave the premises, the Naples News reported.

Collier County deputies later arrested Abaire who now faces felony charges, according to the same report.

The initial charge was for petty theft. But due to Abaire’s record of prior petty theft convictions, the charge was increased from a misdemeanor to a felony under Florida's 'three strikes' statute.

'Three strikes' laws, currently being used in 26 states, came as a response to public outrage over a string of kidnappings and murders by paroled repeat offenders in Washington State in 1993.

In Florida, a third-degree felony is punishable by a maximum of 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

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