Mentally Disabled Ohio Woman Deidre Romine Faces 6 Months in Jail for Taking $2.87 in Coins from Public Fountain
A poor, mentally disabled Ohio woman is facing up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for taking less than $3 in loose change from a public fountain, money she says she needs to buy food.
Romine said she took the money because she is hungry and needed it to buy food for herself and her four cats.
“The money didn’t belong to anybody so I just took it out of there,” Romine, who is unemployed and says she’s about to lose her apartment, told 10TV.
But a police officer who witnessed the incident and found the wet coins in her pocket charged Romine with petty theft and issued her a summons to appear in court. The city is listed as the ‘victim’ in the case.
Romine said she is afraid of what could happen to her if she is found guilty.
“I might go to jail,” she told 10TV.
Local resident Will Zell has launched a donation drive to help cover Romine’s expenses. As of Thursday morning, the fund had received more than $4,000 in donations.
“We want the community to know the ‘why’ rather than just the headline that she got arrested and we also want to help her out,” Zell told 10TV.
Romine, whose husband died last year, said she’s trying to find work, but to no avail.
“I am trying to find a job,” she told ConnectToHome.com. “I am filling out applications all the time. No one will hire me. I get food stamps but they are not enough.”
Romine says she’ll never take coins from the public fountain again.
“I’ve never done this before. I will never do it again,” she told ConnectToHome.com. “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.”