A Pennsylvania man who underpaid an Exxon gas station for a soda will not be locked up, a de-escalation of a heated incident worth less than 50 cents.
Joseph Sobolewski, who was $0.43 short when paying for a Mountain Dew at a gas station in August, received a letter from his attorney on Monday notifying him his theft charge had been dropped. While his bond still remains at $50,000, he no longer faces up to seven years behind bars, according to PennLive.
“That’s great news,” Sobolewski told the outlet. “I feel I was treated unequally because I had a record.”
Authorities also reduced Sobolewski's charge for driving while suspended from a misdemeanor to a summary offense. It is unclear if a bond condition requiring Sobolewski to stay out of all retail establishments is still in place, the outlet reported.
Sobolewski was arrested on Aug. 23 when he placed $2 on a gas station counter and left with a Mountain Dew soda, believing the drink only cost $1.50. However, the drink actually cost $2.43, and gas station staff called the authorities, who later arrested him.
It was not the first time Sobolewski has been charged with theft, according to Pennsylvania records. Under state law, third and subsequent offenses are graded as third-degree felonies, the same charge for items valued at more than $1,000.
Lori Kelly, a Perry County resident who read about the incident, started an online fundraiser to help Sobolewski. As someone who worked in retail and was short-changed multiple times, she said the ordeal was "definitely not worth jamming up the court system," according to the outlet.
The Exxon gas station that Sobolewski "robbed" declined to comment on the news his felony charge had been dropped.
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Original Author: Asher Notheis