A woman who was caught stealing $2.87 from a courthouse fountain has been charged with petty theft, and says she is jobless and took the change to buy food. The western Ohio native pleaded not guilty Wednesday during her arraignment.
A police report alleges Deidre Romine stole the change Oct. 7 from the Logan County Courthouse fountain in Bellefontaine, and an officer asked her what she was doing and found change in her pocket.
“Soon as the cop asked me what I was doing, and I was afraid to tell him,” Romine told 10TV.
The woman says she worries she’ll end up in jail for taking money that she says didn’t belong to anyone. She says she has no job, is on the verge of losing her apartment and was trying to feed herself and her four cats.
“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.”
The city’s safety director says officials hope to resolve the case before the November trial.