Baffled Jury Acquits Guy for ‘Stealing’ 99-Cent Hot Dog

He paid for the rest of his groceries
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2011 2:09 PM CDT
Eating a hot dog and forgetting to pay got one East Washington University student arrested.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – The jury didn’t spend long considering the case of John Richardson, who was on trial for stealing a 99-cent hot dog. The chilling true crime tale goes like this: The Eastern Washington University student walked into a grocery store, grabbed a hot dog from the self-serve counter, and ate it while shopping. He paid for the rest of his groceries ($28), but neglected to fork over a buck for the sausage. When confronted about it, he offered to pay—but store managers refused and called the cops.

The jury was dumbfounded, acquitting Richardson after the bare minimum of deliberation. “You’d have to be an idiot not to realize that the guy simply forgot,” one juror tells the Spokesman-Review. “It took the jury about five minutes to come to a verdict.” So why bother holding a full-blown trial over a hot dog? The county prosecutor says Richardson’s attitude coupled with a 12-year-old shoplifting conviction convinced her to try the case. “From my perspective, he took something without paying for it,” she says.

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