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Couple charged in mistaken car caper
Drove around for hours in vehicle from cafe

A Forsyth County couple faces several charges after turning in a vehicle they told police they had mistakenly taken from a local coffee shop.


Tera Mullinax and Kenneth Payne, both of 3065 Sharon Lane, were arrested Saturday night after bringing their discovery to the attention of an off-duty law enforcement officer.


Payne, 51, was charged by Cumming police with theft of a motor vehicle. He also faces felony drug charges, including possession of hydrocodone and possession of Schedule IV narcotics.


Mullinax, 29, was charged with felony party to a crime.


According to a Cumming police report, the couple approached the off-duty officer about 10:30 p.m. Saturday at Lakeland Plaza Shopping Center and said they’d mistaken someone else’s vehicle for their own.


Earlier that evening, they had arrived at Starbucks on Market Place Boulevard in a four-door, Geo Metro. However, they left the coffee shop in a two-door Eagle Summit, the report shows.


The couple then drove around the Cumming area for more than two hours before apparently realizing the vehicle wasn’t theirs.


During that time, the owner of the Summit reported the Summit stolen. She had reportedly left the keys inside it outside the coffee shop.


According to police reports, Mullinax and Payne made several stops and did some shopping before turning the Summit in.


Officers noted in the report that “the only feature [of the Summit] that resembled the [Metro] that they drove to Starbucks was that it was white.”


The report went on to note that the “color of the interior as well as other features in no way matched their vehicle.” The Metro also had a fan mounted on the dashboard.


Mullinax was released Sunday from the Forsyth County Detention Center after posting $5,610 bond, according to a jail spokeswoman.


Bond for Payne was $28,435, which he posted on Sunday, the jail spokeswoman said.