Columbus, Ohio – A woman has been arrested for stealing hundreds of dollars in donations intended for the families of slain Westerville Police Department Officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering.
Officer Joering, 39, and his partner, Officer Morelli, 54, were ambushed on Feb. 10, while responding to a “potential domestic situation,” The New York Times reported.
In the wake of the officers’ murders, employees at Average Joe’s Pub and Grill set up a donation jar at the business to help the fallen officers’ families, WSYX reported.
Patrons had donated hundreds of dollars to the cause by Mar. 10, but employees noticed that the collection box only had a few dollars inside when they went to close up for the day.
The restaurant manager, Briana Braver, reviewed security footage from inside the business, and noticed a woman stealing the cash.
"She looked at the box, made it look like she was reading, and made it look like she was putting money in, and then she flipped it over to see if she could get inside the box and couldn't and then goes away, and come back with something to pull the money out, probably tweezers,” Braver told WSYX.
The thief then used the money to gamble at lottery machines inside the restaurant.
"There was a lot of money in our Keno machine at the end of the night, more than normal, so she played all of it,” Braver said, according to WSYX.
Once she finished gambling, the woman ordered another drink at the bar, and then left.
Investigators said that the suspect, 62-year-old Donna Ater, turned herself in to police after she learned she had been identified by her photograph.
She was charged with theft, and was being held at the Franklin County Jail.