Police Chief Addresses Fountain Theft Charge


UPDATED: Tuesday October 22, 2013 11:58 PM

The water continuously cycles through the fountain in front of the Logan County Courthouse. It stays in one place, but the story about a small amount of change taken from it has spread worldwide.

"She made a mistake and unfortunately it could have been resolved a little bit better than what it was on her part," says Bellefontaine Police Chief Brandon Standley.

Chief Standley is weighing in about the encounter at the fountain between his officer and Deirdre Romine in early October.

"I'm trying to pick up some pennies that people just throw in," said Romine. The city owns and maintains the fountain and says it owns the change inside it.

Romine says she was taking money to feed herself and her four cats. Chief Standley says he knows Romine receives assistance and he knows her,.They used to be neighbors.

"I was somewhat shocked when I found out that she said that she was hungry. I don't know that to be a fact," said Chief Standley.

This is how he understands the story. An officer responded to a complaint and questioned Romine at the fountain.

"She denied taking any coins," said Standley, "She volunteered 3 of 4 pockets."

Romine was reportedly uncooperative and continued to lie, even after the change was found.

"We do have to draw the line, someone that's cooperating and someone that's not," said Chief Standley. That's why Romine was given a summons for theft.

"We certainly don't want anyone to believe that the town fountain is a place to get their income," said Chief Standley.

The chief says he's impressed to see the community's response. There's been about $15,000 raised for Romine so far. He believes this incident highlighted the fact she needed help.

The chief says he has received messages about Romine's story from as far away as Dubai.
 
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