If you’re from the great state of Michigan like I am, you know that you don’t throw your bottles or cans into the garbage or even the recycling bin. Instead, you save them up and take them to the local grocery store since there is a $0.10 deposit on each unit that you get your money back on for bringing it to the stores. There was even an episode of “Seinfeld” where Kramer and Newman conspired to collect all of the bottles and cans they could find in New York City, place them into a mail truck and haul them to Michigan to make some cash.
While a lot of people thought it would be a good idea after the episode came out, they thought better of it after doing some research and finding that it is actually illegal. Apparently, one man didn’t get the memo, and now he is facing some serious prison time. Brian Everidge, who is from Michigan, knows the law and still tried to circumvent it. Everidge was in Kentucky when he filled up a rented box truck with bottles and cans, hoping to bring them back to Michigan.
Everidge’s plan backfired in a big way when he was pulled over by police about a half hour northwest of Detroit. Officer Clifford Lyden popped open the back of the truck to see that it was filled to the brim with out of state cans and bottles, and Everidge admitted that he was going to try and return them to stores. It was so packed, in fact, that Lyden said “I don’t think you could have put another five or 10 cans in here.”
All in all, there were around 10,000 cans, which would have netted Everidge $1,000 had his plan worked out. Instead, Everidge found himself in front of a judge and a prosecuting attorney who said that he had “never had a case like this.” Everidge’s attorney, Marcus Wilcox, basically admitted the crime by saying that “They caught him too early. He attempted to return the bottles.”
However, Wilcox said that there might be a way around the law, as the court has to prove that he actually attempted the crime instead of actually conspiring to do it since conspiracy to return out of state bottles is not a crime. Had Everidge been caught returning the bottles at a grocery store, it would have been an open and shut case. The court argued that Everidge already being more than 70 miles across the state line that the intent was clear, now they just have to prove it.
Everidge now faces felony charges in Michigan, but is not likely to receive a prison sentence according to legal experts. The maximum sentence for the crime is five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000, but law professor Peter Henning said that “This is not a serious offense, and putting him in jail costs the country money.”
Hopefully Everidge has at least learned a lesson that even Kramer found out about the bottle deposits. Henning said that in the episode, “Kramer was right. The cost benefit analysis just doesn’t work.”