WAHOO – Prior to her first court appearance, former Valparaiso Public Library director Lori Springer waived her preliminary hearing on July 14 and made her official plea of not guilty.
Saunders County Court Judge Andrew Lange accepted both of these motions during the preliminary hearing on July 15. The case and bond was then bound over from Saunders County Court to Saunders County District Court on July 16.
Springer, 45, was arrested on April 22 after a search warrant was executed by Nebraska State Patrol Investigator Henry Dimitroff at her home in Valparaiso. The former library director was arrested on charges of theft by unlawful taking, unlawful acts – depriving or obtaining property or services, and official misconduct.
Her charges were amended on May 4 to theft by unlawful over $1,500 to $5,000. The other charges remained the same.
After being arrested, Springer was lodged in Saunders County jail, but was immediately bailed out after paying 10% of her $10,000 bond, or $1,000.
During the search warrant, a Dell laptop and three college textbooks were found. These items are suspected to be purchases Springer made utilizing Valparaiso Public Library funds while acting as the library director.
Dimitroff also served a search warrant to Amazon.com for the library’s order history where he found $1,130.10 in textbooks and $81.83 in sports equipment had been purchased. Along with the cost of the Dell laptop, which was $345.98, the total amount of personal purchases were $1,557.80.
The APA’s report estimated there were $1,894.34 in questionable personal purchases made by Springer in her tenure including $67.26 in cookbooks, $351 in hydroflasks and sports equipment, $1,130.10 in college textbooks and $345.98 for the Dell laptop.
When Dimitroff was executing the search warrant Springer informed him that the sports equipment purchased through library funds were located at the library,
according to the affidavit. Springer’s two daughters played for the Raymond Central High School softball team, one being a pitcher, Dimitroff found.
Dimitroff verified with Nebraska Wesleyan University, where Springer’s son attends school, that the textbooks found in the NSP investigation were either “required by his classes or could be used as study guides.”
Since her arrest, Springer’s position with the library has been terminated and her position representing the Valparaiso region on the Raymond Central Schools Board of Education has been made vacant.
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