South Carolina man faces federal charges over $.89 drink refill

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by Chris Patterson

SOUTH CAROLINA -- A South Carolina man is facing federal charges after not paying for an $.89 drink refill at the Ralph H Johnson VA Hospital.

Christopher Lewis is out of a job after a simple mistake escalated. "Every time I look at the ticket, it's unbelievable to me. I can't fathom the fact that I made an $.89 mistake that cost me $525."

According to a hospital spokesman, signs are posted in the cafeteria informing patrons that refills are not free. Lewis told reporters he never saw these signs, and refilled is drink on several occasions. 

Lewis says after refilling his cup, a man who identified himself as chief of police stopped him. Lewis told CNN partner WCSC he tried paying the 89 cents, but wasn't allowed to. "I never had an option to make right what I had done wrong," says Lewis.

Police took Lewis to a room at the VA Hospital, fined him $525 and told him never to return to the property. Lewis was charged with first offense shoplifting.

"It's pretty much I guess you would say getting your face back. I want everybody to know that I made a simple mistake," says Lewis "That I'm not a thief. That I'm not dishonest. I'm trying to do the right thing."