Homeless Man Facing 7 Years in Prison for Shortchanging Store 43 Cents
Joseph Sobolewski, 38, bought a bottle of Mountain Dew from store
A homeless man could be sent to prison for seven years after he shortchanged a Pennsylvania convenience store for 43 cents.
Joseph Sobolewski, 38, bought a bottle of Mountain Dew when the shortchange happened.
Sobolewski stopped at a gas station in Duncannon when he saw a sign for a 2 for $3 deal on 20-ounce Mountain Dew bottles.
He grabbed a bottle and left $2 on the counter before leaving the shop, PennLive.com reported.
But Sobolewski did not know that a single bottle cost $2.29, not $1.50.
This meant he owed the store 43 cents when the sales tax was factored in.
After the homeless man left, a gas station employee called the police, who later arrested Sobolewski.
The Washington Post reported that the man was charged under the state’s “three strikes” law for retail theft.
Pennsylvania’s three-strikes law states that an item stolen under the value of $150 is considered an offense, similar to a speeding ticket.
The second offense under the law is considered a misdemeanor.
The third offense is considered a third-degree felon, which is the same as stealing an item valued more than $1,000, PennLive.com reported.
Sobolewski now faces up to seven years in prison and is being held on a $50,000 bond.
Over the past decade, Sobolewski has had various run-ins with the police, including stealing a pair of $40 shoes at a Kmart in 2011.
He also spent three months in jail for violating his probation and was ordered to pay $866 in fines and fees.
Pennsylvania State Police spokeswoman Trooper Megan Ammerman said authorities were following state law after Sobolewski was arrested.
“Troopers cannot decide to not charge someone for a criminal case; only victims of certain crimes can decline charges,” Ammerman said.
“If we are called to an incident involving a crime, we follow and enforce the PA Crimes Code.”
Sobolewski’s court hearing is scheduled for November.