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Man attempts to pay for traffic ticket with 18,800 pennies

Local News
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Bautista took boxes of the copper-colored coins home, where he unwrapped all 188 rolls and poured the 18,800 pennies into plastic bags. (Photos by David Bautista)

When David Bautista went to Pharr Municipal Court on Monday to settle a traffic ticket, he offered to pay cash: with 18,800 pennies.

Peeved that police wrote him a $187 speeding ticket, Bautista decided to play a prank.

Bautista said he withdrew $188 in pennies from the Wells Fargo bank near the intersection of Expressway 83 and Jackson Avenue.

Bautista took boxes of the copper-colored coins home, where he unwrapped all 188 rolls and poured the 18,800 pennies into plastic bags. The bags filled a backpack, which he hauled to municipal court.

“The backpack must have weighed 100 pounds,” said Bautista, 34, of Pharr. “The poor backpack.”

Bautista presented the pennies at 4:45 p.m. Monday, dumping a bagful through the payment slot. Court clerks weren’t amused.

They sent him to Walmart, where a coin counting machine gladly counted the money — and took a cut.

“The joke cost me $20,” Bautista said, adding that the puzzled expressions and general absurdity of the situation were well worth it.

Pranks aside, Municipal Judge Rudy Martinez said the court accepts cash. Loose change, though, must be rolled before clerks will take it.

“He was told by one of the clerks that we don’t accept pennies. They need to be rolled,” Martinez said, adding later: “It seemed kind of strange.”

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