Pennsylvania man charged with felony, held on $50,000 bond for 43-cent theft

We have some pretty serious criminals that are walking the streets.  Some serious felonies.  Some heinous crimes... but they slip through the cracks.  They post ridiculously low bonds and walk.

And then... you have stories like this.  Where a guy sees a soda is 2 for $3 - chooses one (1) -  slaps two bucks on the counter and walks out. 

But the drink was only 2/$3 if you buy two.  When you buy 1 you have to pay the regular single price.  So he basically 'stole' $.43.  Yes, forty-three cents.  And then what happened?

$50K cash bond and... another ridiculous condition of bail.

(With so many serious criminals and offenses, and as busy as our criminal justice systems are - the fact that this Exxon gas station/convenience store is pressing charges of 43 cents is just... a little mind boggling.) 

You can read the whole article through the link but here is a bite sized portion to skim while you sip your morning coffee....

Pennsylvania man charged with felony, held on $50,000 bond for 43-cent theft


".......stopped at a convenience store in Perry County, Pennsylvania last month where he saw a sign for 20-ounce Mountain Dew bottles: 2 for $3.

He grabbed a bottle, slapped $2 on the counter and walked out.

What he didn’t know was a single bottle was $2.29, not $1.50. So he had shorted the store 29 cents plus tax, or 43 cents total.

The store called police, who tracked him down. Pennsylvania State police officers charged him with a felony, locked him up on $50,000 cash-only bond. He’s facing the possibility of up to seven years in prison.

His situation highlights several serious problems in the criminal justice system, according to reform advocates: police pushing minor matters into criminal courts; magisterial district judges setting impossible high bonds; and the state’s ‘three strikes’ law’ for retail theft that doesn’t consider the value of the item in the third arrest.

Sobolewski’s first theft conviction occurred more than 10 years ago and involved a tank of gasoline. He drove off without paying. In December 2011, he was arrested for stealing a pair of shoes from a K-Mart in Cumberland County that cost $39.99.

Now the homeless man faces the possibility of three-and-a-half years to seven years in prison for a theft of less than 50 cents.

“For me, I would get the deterrent factor if someone’s thefts were getting worse or higher in value,” said Brandon Flood, director of the state’s Board of Parole. “But the lack of discretion is what bothers me. It’s problematic because it doesn’t factor in the amount.”

For Sobolewski, 38, it’s unclear whether the situation even fits the elements of state’s law against retail theft. Prosecutors will have to prove this wasn’t a misunderstanding and that he intentionally deprived the store of the full value of the drink.

Also unclear is why the employee at the Exxon at 3298 Susquehanna Trail in Duncannon wanted to press charges over such a small amount. The clerk confirmed to police that Sobolewski put $2 on the counter, then she followed him outside and told him he didn’t pay enough. Sobolewski responded that he did, then drove away, according to court records.

The convenience store manager, who also confirmed to police that Sobolewski “threw $2 onto the checkout counter,” declined to comment Friday when PennLive asked why they wanted to handle this situation in a criminal court."


".......an additional condition of the bail: that he “shall not be permitted into any type of retail establishment,” a condition that would seem to prevent him from buying food, medicine, clothing or other supplies until his case went to trial."