MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – Former Macomb County Clerk Karen Spranger has been in court many times, and on Friday, she returned to be arraigned on criminal charges.
Spranger was arrested Thursday after Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith announced a larceny charge against her.
Smith said Spranger stole money from a 78-year-old woman. The former county clerk was arrested this week in Warren and was arraigned by video Friday morning.
Spranger didn't say a word during the arraignment. Her attorney, who had been retained by her sister about an hour before the proceedings, did all the talking and got Spranger released from jail shortly afterward.
"Ms. Spranger, you are in court for a felony arraignment," the judge said.
Prosecutors said Spranger stole $1,660 from the woman she was supposed to have been taking care of. Pictures from a Chase Bank in January show Spranger making withdrawals without permission from the victim, officials said.
"I would ask my client to stand mute, waive reading of the charges and plead not guilty," her attorney said.
Spranger was released on $3,000 bail despite the fact that police were not able to track her down for two months.
"You don't think she's going to run again -- or disappear, I should say?" the judge asked.
"She has no reason to," Spranger's attorney said. "This isn't the most serious crime we see in the court system."
An arrest warrant was issued Wednesday, and Spranger was spotted Thursday at the Tim Hortons at 12 Mile and Mound roads. She was there for about four or five hours, according to employees.
Tim Hortons workers think a customer recognized Spranger and made the call to police, who showed up for the arrest.
"What she's been through would be difficult on anyone," her attorney said.
Spranger's tumultuous year as Macomb County clerk consisted of lawsuits and bizarre behavior before she was removed from her position by a judge for lying on an affidavit about her primary residence.
"Everybody needs to take a step back and put themselves in her shoes and let the system do its work," Spranger's attorney said.
The former clerk was also accused of assaulting the 78-year-old woman when she confronted Spranger about the money. Spranger wasn't charged with assault, and her attorney doesn't think those charges will be added.