Man Told to Pay $525 for refilling a 89-cent Drink

The cost of a drink isn’t what it used to be for a North Charleston man who was slapped with a $525 fine for refilling his 89-cent drink and now faces federal charges.

On-site construction worker Chris Lewis told WCSC News he didn’t know refills at the VA Medical Center in downtown Charleston weren’t free.

A hospital spokesperson called it a “theft of government property,” the station reported.

“Every time I look at the ticket, it’s unbelievable to me,” says Lewis, who works construction. “I can’t fathom the fact that I made an 89-cent mistake that cost me $525.”

Lewis says he never noticed “No Free Re-Fill” signs and admits he had refilled his drink without paying on other occasions. He says after he went back for seconds on Wednesday, a man who identified himself as the chief of police, stopped him.

“As I was filling my cup up, I turned to walk off and a fella grabbed me by the arm and asked me was I going to pay for that, and I told him I wasn’t aware that I had to pay for that.”

Lewis told WCSC that he tried to pay the $0.89 right there, but wasn’t allowed to. He says he wasn’t given the chance to pay the cashier either.

“I never had an option to make right what I had done wrong.”

He says he was taken to a room, given the $525 ticket for shoplifting and told not to return to the property.

“I’m done there, at the VA hospital. I’m not allowed to go on the premises anymore. I asked him can I still work on the job site and just bring my lunch and not got to the cafeteria and he said he wanted me off the premises.”

Plainfield Township Expo is April 26

The Plainfield Township Disabilities Committee will host its fourth annual Abilities Expo from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 26.

The free event will take place at the Plainfield Central High School Field House, 24120 W. Fort Beggs Dr. The event will include more than 50 vendors that provide support to people with various disabilities, as well as guest speakers. Concessions will also be available.

The exhibitors showcase will feature products and services including: automobile/van conversions; assistive technologies; bathroom equipment; beds, furnishings and accessories; chairs and accessories; daily living aids; durable medical equipment; exercise, recreation, sports equipment and services; home medical equipment and services; incontinence products; insurance and insurance services; legal services; publications; ramps/lifts; rehabilitative care/services; residential programs; seating/positioning systems and accessories; travel and hospitality services; and wheelchairs, scooters and walkers.

“When living with a disability, each day presents new challenges. As a result, there is a never-ending need for new products, services and technologies to improve quality of life,” said Mike Brann, co-chair of the Abilities Expo.

New Carillon Issued to Plainfield Church

Until Sunday, there were just 181 carillons in the United States, according to Jeff Crook, president of Chime Master, an Ohio-based company that installs and renovates bell systems.

Now, you can add Plainfield United Methodist Church’s bell tower to the list.

Over the weekend, Crook added the final five bells needed to bring the total to 23 — the minimum necessary to make the church’s bell tower a true carillon.

Church member Larry Stephens said the bells rang out for Sunday’s services at the church, 15114 S. Illinois St.

According to Stephens, the bells were briefly silenced after a 2005 inspection prompted concerns over the condition of the 10 original bells and playing mechanism, installed when the church was built in 1907.

“They weren’t played after the church renovation” in 2005, Stephens said.

In 2007, church members pitched in to help bring the bells back to life. Through donations, members raised more than $130,000 to fund a renovation of the bell tower.