Woman Facing a Decade in Prison for Stealing One Can of Crappy Beer

For allegedly stealing a 24-ounce can of Steel Reserve, Victoria Hill of Boise, Idaho now faces up to ten years behind bars. Officers charged her with felony burglary, because she stuck the beer in her purse and walked by some cash registers—thereby indicating "intent."

Isn't it common for shoplifters to, you know, hide what they're stealing, and not stop to pay for it? How is her alleged crime different from any other act of shoplifting? How do the authorities know for a fact that she planned in advance on taking the beer, and did not do so merely after realizing on the spur of the moment that she thirsted for the delicious taste of low-budget lager? Just because she has prior convictions for theft doesn't mean there existed some elaborate scheme in her mind.

And who plans on shoplifting Steel Reserve anyway? Given such an accusation, maybe she could deploy the insanity defense.

In Idaho, a can of Steel Reserve retails at around $1.50, according to an "informal" survey of retailers. The cost to house an inmate in an Idaho penitentiary in 2010 was around $52.22 per day. Hill would have to steal about 35 Steel Reserves before surpassing her daily room and board fee in prison. Priorities! [Reuters. Image radiobread/via Flickr]