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Hungry Criminal Gets 80 Years in Prison

FORT WORTH (CN) - A career criminal was sentenced to 80 years in prison for buying movie snacks with a bogus $20 bill. Charles Nowden, 48, paid for two hot dogs, two Cokes and a tub of popcorn with the counterfeit cash. More recently, he was accused of stealing lawnmowers.

A state jury convicted Nowden, of Mansfield, of forgery after three hours of deliberations. Nowden made his ill-advised purchase at a Mansfield movie theater in November 2009.

After he was arrested, police found another $120 in counterfeit bills tucked inside the hot dog wrapper, Tarrant County prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said Nowden has three other pending theft charges against him. He was arrested in 2008, allegedly in possession of stolen all-terrain vehicles. In 2010 he was linked through DNA to a stolen 18-wheeler truck, and this year he was caught stealing lawnmowers from a farm equipment lot in Paris, according to the prosecutors' statement.

The jury also heard that Nowden had federal convictions for bank fraud, possessing counterfeit cigarettes, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The jury was allowed to consider those offenses and other bad acts in determining his punishment.

Nowden must serve at least 15 years before he is eligible for parole.

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