Police in Bellefontaine, Ohio take crime very seriously. So seriously that, earlier this month, they charged a woman with theft for allegedly stealing $2.87 in change from a public fountain.
On October 7, police found Deidre Romine, who says she is unemployed and mentally disabled, near or in the Logan County Courthouse fountain. An officer asked her what she was doing.
"Soon as the cop asked me what I was doing, and I was afraid to tell him," Romine told 10TV.
The officer searched Romine and discovered $2.87 worth of change in her pocket.
"The money didn't belong to anybody so I just took it out of there." Romine admitted in a TV interview later, though the officer, who Romine described as nice, disagreed; he charged her with petty theft and issued her a summons for a court appearance.
"I'm trying to feed myself,” Romine said. “And I've got four cats I'm raising and I'm trying to feed them. I might go to jail.”
Members of the community have rallied to show their support for Romine, raising nearly $1,000 in donations and promising on social media to attend her court appearance.
“You know, I am trying to find a job,” Romine told ConnecttoHome last week. “I’ve been trying to find a job. I am filling out applications all the time. No one will hire me.”
“People do this every year,” she added. “They throw coins in the fountain. I’ve never done this before (taken any out). I will never do it again. I didn’t know it was wrong. It was mostly pennies in there…It’s just been a really rough year.I haven’t worked. I am trying the best I can.”