How a Soda Theft Turned Into a Felony Robbery

By Ephrat Livni, Esq. on April 26, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Thirst can make you crazy, and it seems to have just done that to an 18-year-old in Springdale, Arizona. The young man, Cody Morris, is facing felony charges after an attempt to steal soda turned into a felony.

The crime was publicized on the local police's Facebook page and is making its way around the Internet, albeit with a deceptive headline that police find frustrating. It indicates that the young man was charged with a felony for stealing soda from the fountain. That is not what happened. Here is the story from the Springdale Police, who wanted to clear up a few key points.

Just Water, Please

According to the Springdale Police Department, three people in a car went through a local McDonald's drive-thru and requested three large waters at the window. Somewhat surprisingly, they received the waters (there is no indication that they ordered anything else).

The three then parked the car and went inside the restaurant with these large cups of water. In McDonald's they dumped the water and began filling the cups with soda from the fountain and were spotted by an employee, who asked them to dispose of their drinks.

Two of the three in the thirsty crew dumped the soda as requested. A third person, the young man now facing felony charges, did not. He went out to the car and started it.

Two store employees reportedly followed and stood behind the car to stop him from fleeing. Morris then reversed and struck one of the workers. When another tried to stop Morris by grabbing the key from the ignition, he reportedly struck the worker. It is this act -- use of force -- that aggravated Morris's charge.

Setting the Record Straight

"The employee pulled his hand from the vehicle and was allegedly struck by the vehicle again as it left," write the Springdale Police. "The vehicle was located a short distance away and the driver, Cody Morris, was taken into custody without incident. Please remember that Mr. Morris is innocent until proven guilty in court."

Apart from reminding us of the burden of proof in a criminal case, the police also expressed frustration at the media's coverage of this story, pointing out that Morris was not charged with a felony for stealing soda. "How is stealing a soda a felony," the department asked rhetorically. "The theft became a robbery when the alleged suspect allegedly used force to resist apprehension by the store employees."

Follow FindLaw for Consumers on Facebook and Twitter (@FindLawConsumer).

Related Resources:

Copied to clipboard