BLUE ASH, Ohio -- An 89-year-old Ohio woman faces a charge of petty theft because neighborhood children said she refused to give back their football.
Edna Jester was placed under arrest last week and taken to the police station in Blue Ash.
Police say there had been an ongoing dispute over the errant football and a child's parent called to report that Jester kept the ball after it landed in her yard again.
"I'm 89 years old and I want a little piece of mind," Jester said. "This is my life here in this chair, looking out that door, and all I see is playing the ball down and all over and all over. If it doesn't come in my yard, OK, but if it comes in my yard, I'm going to get it. No trespassing."
Blue Ash Police Capt. James Schaffer said Monday that police warned Jester twice and finally arrested her after she refused to accept a citation.
"She chose to take a stand," Schaffer said, saying she told police to handcuff her, but they wouldn't do that.
He said Jester wasn't a troublemaker, but that police had been to the neighborhood several times to try to mediate similar disputes.
"The actual rule is if you take the property of another and convert it to your own use, it's theft," Schaffer said. "She was told by the police two times, give the ball back or you face criminal charges, and she refused to do so."
Jester must appear in mayor's court next month.
"I'm not giving the ball up, no," Jester said. "That's the only protection I have. They know if it comes in my yard I'll get it, and that keeps them off of me a little."
The football, valued at $15, is being held for evidence, Schaffer said.
The potential maximum penalty for a petty theft conviction in Ohio is six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
Schaffer said he suspects the mayor or presiding magistrate will take into account her age and lack of criminal record when the case comes up.
"We don't like arresting 89-year-old women," Schaffer said. "We don't like going into neighborhood disputes like this, and taking them to the extreme, but some times you're backed into a corner."